Improved health and wellness, living a self-directed life, and striving to reach an individual’s full potential: That’s the definition of recovery according to SAMHSA, and in order to support that process of change, effective recovery and treatment programs focus on four major dimensions: health, home, community, and purpose.

Because effective recovery is so multidimensional, individuals may experience different challenges that prevent them from making progress. Telemedicine is one increasingly popular method that has developed to help confront obstacles standing in the way of that all-important progress.

Recovery Challenges

Boredom

Because rehab facilities are usually composed of scheduled activities and programs, coming out of those facilities can lead to potentially triggering periods of boredom. Healthy ways of filling these times, such as engaging with a network of peers, is critical to maintaining a sustainable path to recovery.

Finding Coping Strategies

Recovery is not just about ending substance abuse. It’s also about developing coping strategies that help the individual take a better approach to life. But coping strategies are not one-size-fits-all, and individuals may struggle to find the ones that work best for them.

Stigma

Despite the high percentage of Americans with substance use disorders, most individuals do not seek out treatment, and those that do may still feel hesitant as a result of the stigma surrounding alcohol and drug abuse to pursue the solutions they need.

Telemedicine Tactics & Benefits

Less than 1% of substance abuse care programs have adopted telemedicine, despite the significant potential for it to facilitate treatment and recovery processes. However, this number is likely to grow as a result of high interest in telemedicine as well as the benefits of tactics currently being used.

Engagement & empowerment

Recovery is person-driven, so engagement is critical to maintaining a healthy and sustainable recovery path. One of the most common methods currently used to encourage engagement is text message reminders. This seemingly simple process has been shown to reduce no-show rates, keeping individuals more involved in their recovery.

Another common telemedicine tactic is the use of patient web portals. In addition to simplified appointment scheduling, form completion, and access to health data, web portals often feature educational resources. This hub of information works to empower patients and gives them the knowledge they need to make the best decisions regarding their recovery.

Better access

Even individuals with a desire to engage with their recovery plans may have trouble doing so due to disabilities, travel limitations, or family and job commitments. Video- and telephone-based services are one of the primary ways care and treatment facilities are helping people in recovery overcome these obstacles. With the ability to remotely communicate with therapists or recovery support groups, individuals have access to critical services without needing to disrupt other aspects of their life.

Virtual therapy and support sessions also help relieve the stigma associated with substance abuse disorders and addiction recovery. While in-person services cannot fully be replaced, remote support is a valuable option for individuals that feel shame in face-to-face circumstances or that choose not to engage with prevention, intervention or treatment services to avoid being seen. The flexibility afforded by virtual services also means individuals may be able to find a provider that is a better fit for their needs.

Better connections

In addition to facilitating connections between an individual in recovery and their healthcare provider, telemedicine can create more connections between individuals and their community. In times of boredom or loneliness, making connections is an effective way of not just avoiding boredom but also finding meaningful support from others.

Online group meetings and discussion forums are becoming an increasingly common way for individuals to find peer support. Whether through a group video meeting or chat room, this emerging form of telemedicine is helping individuals stay connected with peers while expanding healthcare access and reducing stigma.

Supporting Recovery with iTether

We’re helping addiction recovery and treatment facilities support their patients with a health platform that fosters greater communication and engagement and leads to better results. Through individualized programs, individuals in recovery have the resources, materials, and connections they need to maintain a healthy path to recovery. Reach out to us today to discover what we can do for your facility.