Opioid-related overdose deaths continue to climb, reaching 42,249 in 2016,37 reflecting the growing population with OUDs in need of treatment. Clinically MATs reduce the risk of OUD death by up to 50%. Yet access to MAT remains severely inadequate, notably in rural areas where, in 2016, 85% of counties lacked an opioid treatment program that could provide methadone and 60% lacked any buprenorphine-waivered provider.
There is a severe shortage of MAT prescribers, particularly in rural areas, and telemedicine offers the potential to fill this gap but is not yet prevalent. Therefore, understanding barriers and facilitators to adoption of this modality is critical.
This quantitative study will survey MAT providers to understand their views regarding telemedicine for MAT to treat OUDs. This study will involve a two-part design. First, surveys will be administered to MAT prescribers of buprenorphine and naltrexone in two ways: (1) via email with small incentives to a nationally representative sample of buprenorphine and naltrexone prescribers; and (2) in paper form at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry annual meeting in December 2018. Second, a geospatial analysis will be conducted to analyze the mismatch between MAT availability and treatment need, identifying areas- particularly rural areas- where there is treatment capacity and/or support services compared to areas where treatment is actually provided.