Research: Telehealth for opioid use dysfunction linked to decrease threat of deadly overdose

Receiving telehealth companies for opioid use dysfunction through the COVID-19 pandemic was related to decreased odds for deadly overdose amongst Medicare beneficiaries, in keeping with a research revealed in JAMA Psychiatry

Researchers from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies, and the Nationwide Institutes of Well being studied two cohorts of fee-for-service beneficiaries beginning an OUD-related episode of care: one pre-pandemic group of greater than 105,000 and a second pandemic group of greater than 70,000.

They discovered beneficiaries who began care through the pandemic and acquired OUD-related telehealth companies had a 33% decreased threat of a deadly overdose. Although mortality charges have been greater within the pandemic group, the proportion of deaths attributable to overdoses have been comparable between the cohorts. 

Researchers additionally discovered sufferers who acquired medicines for OUD from therapy applications had a 59% decreased threat of deadly overdose, whereas those that acquired buprenorphine in workplace settings had a 38% decrease threat. Nonetheless, receiving extended-release naltrexone in workplace settings wasn’t linked to decrease odds of overdose. 

“This cohort research discovered that, amongst Medicare beneficiaries initiating OUD-related care through the COVID-19 pandemic, receipt of OUD-related telehealth companies was related to decreased threat for deadly drug overdose, as was receipt of MOUD from opioid therapy applications and receipt of buprenorphine in office-based settings,” the research’s authors wrote. “Methods to develop provision of MOUD, enhance retention in care and deal with co-occurring bodily and behavioral well being situations are wanted.”


Overdose deaths general spiked through the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching greater than 107,000 in 2021. Greater than 80,000 deaths concerned opioids. 

The most recent research displays earlier analysis on OUD-related telehealth companies. Nonetheless, the authors observe that few sufferers are accessing care. Just one in 5 Medicare beneficiaries within the pandemic cohort acquired telehealth companies, and one in eight acquired medicines for OUD.

“The outcomes of this research add to the rising analysis documenting the advantages of increasing the usage of telehealth companies for folks with opioid use dysfunction, in addition to the necessity to enhance retention and entry to treatment therapy for opioid use dysfunction,” lead creator Christopher M. Jones, director of the Nationwide Heart for Harm Prevention and Management on the CDC, stated in a press release. “The findings from this collaborative research additionally spotlight the significance of working throughout businesses to determine profitable methods to deal with and get forward of the continuously evolving overdose disaster.”

Margie Zuk and Melissa “Penny” Chase will supply extra element on the HIMSS23 session “Making ready for the Subsequent Cyber Assault.” It’s scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 at 10:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. CT on the North Constructing, Stage 3, in Corridor B, Sales space 8539, Federal Well being Pavilion.

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