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Am J Addict ; 30(5): 445-452, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360443


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The rapid scale-up of telehealth services for substance use disorders (SUDs) during the COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique opportunity to investigate patient experiences with telehealth. This study examined patient perceptions of telehealth in an outpatient SUD treatment program offering individual therapy, group therapy, and medication management. METHODS: Two hundred and seventy adults receiving SUD outpatient treatment were eligible to complete a 23-item online survey distributed by clinicians; 58 patients completed/partially completed the survey. Data were summarized with descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Participants were predominately male, White, and well-educated. The majority (86.2%) were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with the quality of telehealth care. "Very satisfied" ratings were highest for individual therapy (90%), followed by medication management (75%) and group therapy (58%). Top reasons for liking telehealth included the ability to do it from home (90%) and not needing to spend time commuting (83%). Top reasons for disliking telehealth were not connecting as well with other members in group therapy (28%) and the ability for telehealth to be interrupted at home or work (26%). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Telehealth visits were a satisfactory treatment modality for most respondents receiving outpatient SUD care, especially those engaging in individual therapy. Challenges remain for telehealth group therapy. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study examining patients' perceptions of telehealth for outpatient SUD treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic by treatment service type. Importantly, while many participants found telehealth more accessible than in-person treatment, there was variability with respect to the preferred mode of treatment delivery.

Ambulatory Care , COVID-19 , Outpatients , Pandemics , Patient Satisfaction , Substance-Related Disorders , Telemedicine , Adult , Ambulatory Care/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Health Care Surveys , Humans , Male , Outpatients/psychology , Outpatients/statistics & numerical data , Patient Satisfaction/statistics & numerical data , Psychotherapy, Group , Substance-Related Disorders/therapy