Telemedicine and Prescribing Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
Case Study and Resources from DHHS from Sept. 2018
According to a Sept. 18, 2018 release from HHS titled Using Telemedicine to Combat the Opioid Epidemic, "Working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), HHS developed materials to help clarify how clinicians can use telemedicine as a tool to expand buprenorphine-based MAT for opioid use disorder treatment under current DEA regulations. The information, including a clinical practice example that is consistent with applicable DEA and HHS administered authorities, can help to increase access to buprenorphine by utilizing telemedicine to expand provider’s ability to prescribe MAT to patients, including remote patients under certain circumstances. This especially will support access to buprenorphine in rural areas where there may be a smaller number of providers with a DATA 2000 waiver—which allows qualified practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD in settings other than a federally regulated opioid treatment program.
This information may not be widely known among healthcare providers and other stakeholders and many have been reluctant to utilize telemedicine for prescribing MAT. That is why we are taking this opportunity during Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week (September 16-22, 2018) to make sure everyone knows that effective treatment is available, including via telemedicine, to help combat the opioid epidemic in the U.S. Beyond telemedicine, health information technology (health IT) can be leveraged in many ways to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has resources for healthcare providers to learn more about health IT tools to combat the opioid epidemic through the Opioid Epidemic and Health IT chapter in the Health IT Playbook and ONC’s Educational Module for Behavioral Health Providers - PDF."
An additional statement, Telemedicine and Prescribing Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder, which includes a use case was released in September 2018 as well.