April 24, 2024

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Telehealth viewed as barrier to monitoring at-risk drug use patients, study finds

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Regardless of the speedy adoption and enlargement of telehealth, a the greater part of medical professionals view the engineering as a barrier to monitoring sufferers at risk for drug misuse.
This was just just one of the conclusions of a Quest Diagnostics Wellness Trends report, which also located virtually 70% of medical professionals concern they skipped signals of drug misuse for the duration of the pandemic.
There was also the fear that mounting psychological health and fitness issues induced by the pandemic are introducing to prescription drug misuse, with the extensive the greater part (ninety four%) of medical professionals surveyed reporting sufferers with increased tension and nervousness degrees, among other psychological health and fitness issues.
Dr. Harvey Kaufman, director of Quest Diagnostics’ Wellness Trends Research Software, defined that when telehealth was effective to so many for the duration of the pandemic, 75% of medical professionals consider telehealth visits limited their capacity to figure out if sufferers were being at risk for, or were being presently, misusing prescription and illicit medicine.
“Visible engagement including deciphering overall body language is a lot more hard,” Kaufman stated. “Further, clinical drug testing, which usually involves urine assessment, is tricky to carry out in a virtual environment.”
He stated telehealth could be made use of to help treat and keep track of sufferers who are misusing prescription medicine, but medical professionals will need clearer suggestions to realize how to use virtual care in this capability.
“Research indicates telehealth is emerging as a enhance to, as opposed to a substitution for, in-particular person care, and flexible care designs should really aim to maximize the benefit of both of those,” he mentioned.
In the survey, sixty nine% of medical professionals noted needing a lot more applications to address racial/ethnic disparities in prescription drug management. Further, 88% of medical professionals stated they thought that much better suggestions would help make certain clinical drug testing is made use of a lot more equitably.
Other about conclusions from the report were being about the use of fentanyl, which 86% of medical professionals surveyed fear would assert a lot more lives than recommended opioids.
Almost eighty% of medical professionals surveyed concern sufferers will convert to illicit fentanyl if they can not get a prescription medication, and seventy six% consider fatalities from drug overdose will proceed to rise even as the pandemic subsides.
Quest Diagnostics laboratories noticed a 35% increase in constructive drug exams for non-recommended fentanyl for the duration of the pandemic (from 4.3% to 5.eight%), which Kaufman referred to as “an especially alarming” pattern. 
WHY THIS Matters

Kaufman stated clinical drug testing is crucial for stopping overdose fatalities, but medical professional confusion above suitable use may possibly threaten care quality.
“Medical professionals will need and want clearer suggestions on when and how to utilize optimal drug monitoring, as properly as guidance on how to use telehealth to care for sufferers with compound abuse disorders,” he stated.
The survey benefits indicated medical professionals want this facts: 78% stated they desire they had a lot more teaching on what to do if a affected person was displaying signals of prescription drug habit.
“It is crucial to offer these sources to help manage this urgent public health and fitness crisis,” Kaufman stated.
THE Larger Pattern
Kaufman pointed out the drug misuse crisis isn’t going to just arrive with a substantial demise toll it also has an economic charge, he stated.
A study in NIH National Library of Medication mentioned that each calendar year opioid overdose, misuse and dependence account for $35 billion in healthcare expenditures.
In addition, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), compound abuse in total expenditures $600 billion on a yearly basis.
On the other hand, NIDA also notes that “drug habit treatment method has been shown to decrease affiliated health and fitness and social expenditures by a lot more than fifty percent the charge of the treatment method itself,” underscoring the relevance of detection and early intervention for compound use disorders.
Increasing access to proof-primarily based treatment options for Opioid Use Disorder has been affiliated with price savings of $twenty five,000 to $105,000 in life time expenditures per particular person, according to a JAMA Psychiatry study.
ON THE Document
“COVID-19 exacerbated longstanding public health and fitness issues, including psychological health and fitness, drug misuse and social disparities, when supercharging telehealth, at-house care and other purchaser-centric approaches,” Dr. Jay Wohlgemuth, senior vice president of R&D and Health care and main health-related officer at Quest Diagnostics, stated in a statement. “Our conclusions expose the will need to arm medical professionals with extensive sources to determine and fight drug misuse amid this shifting landscape.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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