Examine: Telehealth for opioid use dysfunction linked to decrease danger of deadly overdose


Receiving telehealth companies for opioid use dysfunction throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was related to lowered odds for deadly overdose amongst Medicare beneficiaries, in response to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry

Researchers from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers, 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 throughout the pandemic and acquired OUD-related telehealth companies had a 33% lowered danger of a deadly overdose. Although mortality charges had been larger within the pandemic group, the share of deaths attributable to overdoses had been related between the cohorts. 

Researchers additionally discovered sufferers who acquired medicines for OUD from therapy packages had a 59% lowered danger of deadly overdose, whereas those that acquired buprenorphine in workplace settings had a 38% decrease danger. 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 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, receipt of OUD-related telehealth companies was related to lowered danger for deadly drug overdose, as was receipt of MOUD from opioid therapy packages and receipt of buprenorphine in office-based settings,” the research’s authors wrote. “Methods to increase provision of MOUD, enhance retention in care and tackle co-occurring bodily and behavioral well being circumstances are wanted.”


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

The newest research reflects earlier research on OUD-related telehealth companies. Nonetheless, the authors word 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 medicine therapy for opioid use dysfunction,” lead creator Christopher M. Jones, director of the Nationwide Middle for Harm Prevention and Management on the CDC, stated in an announcement. “The findings from this collaborative research additionally spotlight the significance of working throughout businesses to determine profitable methods to handle and get forward of the always 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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