How Telemedicine Can Bridge the Gaps in Hepatitis C Care

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How Telemedicine Can Bridge the Gaps in Hepatitis C Care

Online video conferencing could make it easier to connect patients to a specialist in treating hepatitis C.

When it comes to providing effective medical care to people with a serious condition like hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, today’s health care innovators are striving to fill in the cracks into which individuals in need of care and treatment may fall.

For the past few years, Andrew H. Talal, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine and hepatologist at University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY), has been developing a program that uses videoconferencing to allow HCV-positive people to receive virtual appointments at methadone clinics with an off-site physician who can prescribe treatment for the virus.

Known as telemedicine, this marriage of modern technology and good old-fashioned health care is increasingly covered by insurance, especially in states with large rural populations burdened by the need to travel considerable distances to find a medical specialist.

Talal says the telemedicine system he’s developed “is really the opportunity to virtually integrate medical treatment into the substance abuse treatment facility, as opposed to physical integration, which is much more difficult to accomplish.”

Individuals who attend methadone clinics, which provide treatment for addiction to opioids, namely heroin (methadone is one of a variety of opioid substitution therapies), are at particularly high risk of getting lost in the tangled maze of the U.S. health care system. And because injection drug users have high rates of both HCV as well as HIV, those living with either condition are in particular need of quality health care.

Read Full Article: How Telemedicine Can Bridge the Gaps in Hepatitis C Care – POZ

Read Full Article: How Telemedicine Can Bridge the Gaps in Hepatitis C Care – POZ

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