Peer-reviewed research, published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, shows feedback from Bicycle Health patients indicating the positive impacts of virtual care models for OUD treatment
BOSTON, March 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bicycle Health, the leading telehealth provider of integrated medical and behavioral health care for opioid use disorder (OUD) in the United States, announced the results of new peer-reviewed research published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine (JAM) suggesting the potential of fully virtual care models to increase patient satisfaction and access to treatment for OUD.
With more than two million Americans struggling with OUD, fewer than one in five receive medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), such as buprenorphine, which has been clinically shown to reduce the body’s cravings for opioids. Such medications reduce painful withdrawal symptoms, help prevent overdose, and support long-term recovery, ultimately resulting in decreased morbidity and mortality.
This qualitative research study was led by researchers at the nonprofit RAND Corporation and Harvard University and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study explored the role that telehealth plays in shaping patient experiences with accessing buprenorphine treatment, behavioral health supports, and wraparound services for OUD. This study is the first of its kind to assess the impact of one fully virtual model of telehealth for OUD on patients’ experiences and perspectives.
As part of this study, RAND researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Bicycle Health patients between March and May 2021. To ensure patients had sufficient time in treatment to discuss their experiences with Bicycle Health’s tele-OUD offerings, the research team interviewed patients who had been in treatment for three to five weeks. Bicycle Health facilitated recruitment for the study but did not participate in data collection or analysis.
Key findings from the research include:
- Overall Satisfaction: The majority of new users interviewed as part of this research were satisfied with the teleOUD services they received.
- Ease-of-Use: As an emerging technology, understanding how easy it is for patients to navigate teleOUD treatment platforms is integral. Patients interviewed as part of this study expressed their satisfaction with how convenient or easy it was to use Bicycle Health’s teleOUD treatment platform.
- Faster Intake: Nearly all of the patients interviewed shared their appreciation for how quickly Bicycle Health was able to initiate teleOUD treatment with them. This process can be much longer for in-person care, making it difficult for patients to access treatment at the point of most readiness.
- Accessibility and Acceptance: Finding reliable OUD treatment can be difficult for many patients, particularly for those facing geographic accessibility constraints, stigma, or a general lack of addiction medicine expertise among Primary Care Physicians (PCPs). Many patients in this study emphasized their frustrations with the stigma they experienced seeking in-person OUD care in the past, and half of all patients interviewed described a lack of support from PCPs for their OUD.
- Limited High-Risk Exposure: For many patients in recovery, being exposed to others in active addiction or struggling with relapse can be incredibly difficult. Many participants in this study noted that Bicycle Health’s teleOUD platform allowed them to receive more customized treatment, without facing in-person exposure to others with OUD.
- Community of Care: Among participants with past experiences receiving in-person OUD treatment, over three-quarters described their experiences with Bicycle Health’s teleOUD care in positive terms, emphasizing its patient-centeredness relative to in-person care. Most of those who participated in this study indicated they planned to continue using teleOUD for at least six months.
“At Bicycle Health, we’re committed to advancing the understanding of addiction medicine and telehealth treatment options through peer-reviewed, patient-centered research,” said Dr. Rebekah Rollston, Director of Patient Advisory Council. “It’s exciting to see our comprehensive, virtual OUD treatment platform further validated through this type of qualitative research. We’re heartened to see such positive feedback from our patient population and look forward to continuing to connect with our patients and other experts in the addiction medicine space to better understand the role telehealth can play in combating the opioid epidemic.”
About Bicycle Health
Bicycle Health is the leading telehealth provider of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in the United States, offering an evidence-based clinical care model that includes FDA-approved Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT), access to a highly-trained team of medical experts, therapy, a customized treatment plan, and peer support groups. Bicycle Health’s mission is to address the country’s number one public health crisis by helping to reduce stigmas associated with opioid addiction and providing access to affordable, convenient, and confidential teleMOUD treatment for individuals in need. The company’s “whole person” approach to treatment encourages patients to focus on their life passions and goals, which has been shown to play a vital role in recovery. For more information, visit www.bicyclehealth.com.
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