Public Health and Primary CareCOMMENTARY

Telehealth in opioid use disorder treatment: policy considerations for expanding access to care

Auguste Niyibizi, DO, MBA; Arman Haveric, BA; and Giselle Irio, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: September 21, 2023

Accepted: October 25, 2023

Published: November 20, 2023

  • Auguste Niyibizi, DO, MBA, 

    St. Lukes’s University Hospital, Bethlehem, PA, USA

  • Arman Haveric, BA, 

    Temple Medical School, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  • Giselle Irio, DO, 

    Mountainview Regional Medical Center, Las Cruces, NM, USA

Abstract

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 was intended to address the online diversion of controlled substances. However, it inadvertently limited access to care for patients seeking medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary flexibility in telemedicine prescriptions for MOUD were implemented. Now, with the conclusion of the public health emergency, policymakers need to develop strategies to maintain some of the lifted restrictions in order to maintain increased access to care for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). One potential solution to address these issues is the implementation of a hybrid model combining outpatient clinics and telemedicine. This model offers the opportunity to maintain the benefits of telemedicine while ensuring comprehensive and safe care for OUD patients.

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