Telemedicine helping to reach addicts in rural Michigan
As the opioid crisis continues to affect both urban and rural communities, telemedicine has the potential to help recovering addicts stay clean.
As reported by Michigan Radio, telemedicine might be especially helpful where America’s opioid crisis is at its worst: rural areas.
Jamey Lister, an assistant professor of social work at Wayne State University, joined Stateside to discuss the future of telemedicine and its potential to serve rural populations.
“Telemedicine is a broad term that reflects the ability to bring patients in using video conferencing. You might use Skype or different web-based platforms so that a physician or other healthcare providers can connect with a patient that might live in rural or remote areas away from the clinic or hospital setting.”
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What barriers do rural residents fighting addiction face in receiving treatment and care?
“The distance is big. Mainly it’s big because of the transportation problems. So in terms of the time, reliable access to their own personal car, you’re not going to have bus routes that will connect you to the clinic.”
“Beyond that, I think that privacy concerns are pretty big in the rural community, where, if you are traveling to go to a clinic for a healthcare problem and specifically a substance use problem — and it’s a small community — it’s possible that more people are able to talk about that problem, to know that you have it. So those concerns are maybe a bit greater than in an urban or suburban setting.”
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To learn more about how telemedicine can help fight the opioid crisis, especially in hard hit rural areas, please visit Michigan Radio.