The effects of COVID on telehealth have led to a viable and sustainable solution to many of the challenges facing healthcare delivery in the U.S. Virtual healthcare services are now one of the fastest-growing areas in the healthcare industry.
According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports, from March to October 2020, 68 million telehealth services were delivered, showing a 2,700% increase compared to 2019 reports.
I have been a substance use counselor for nearly 17 years. When I started, a patient that used opioids or heroin was uncommon; now, if a patient has not used opioids or has never overdosed, we are mildly surprised. When suboxone (buprenorphine) arrived on the scene, we all thought our opioid crisis was over; little did we know. I was talking to one of my coworkers, who is friends with one of the local EMTs; she stated that our town has 6-10 overdoses daily. The population of our town is only around 100,000 people.
Dr. Jonathan Neufeld, the Program Director of the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (gpTRAC) has spent the last 15 years steering healthcare organizations toward telehealth solutions. When he began his work in the field, few people were talking about telehealth technology; but once COVID-19 entered the picture, healthcare organizations realized that this underutilized treatment option became a necessity for patients and providers.
In this video interview, Dr. Neufeld identifies factors that organizations should consider when integrating telehealth technology into their practices, current technology constraints for treating patients, and a glimpse of the technological future that could be awaiting us.
The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (IsfTeh) has endorsed three of TCI’s training programs.
Technology in Couple and Family Relationships
I can remember the first time I ever used the Internet. I was just starting high school and my parents had gotten a computer with something called “Prodigy”, an online service allowing dial-up connection to the Internet. I can still hear the sound of the modem waiting for the screen to come up; the anticipation of when the connection would be made; and being amazed I could write a report without looking up something in the musty, nearly-complete set of Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia in the dank and webby basement. No disrespect to Funk & Wagnalls, but there was something more magical about being able to have information with the satisfying click of a keyboard.
Fast forward 30 years: I have built a career on investigating how that little click of a mouse and the buzz of a modem coming to life has impacted nearly everything we do in our relationships. The speed with which we have adopted our technologies is unlike any other advances in modern life including the Industrial Revolution. The world has exponentially adopted Internet technologies at an astonishing rate. For example, Asia has the highest number of Internet users with close to 3 billion. Closer to home, nearly 94% of the North American population is connected (Internet World Stats, 2023).