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Effort to Deliver Hepatitis C Services Through Telemedicine Gains National Attention

May 14, 2019

A researcher who has been instrumental in advancing the use of telemedicine to deliver hepatitis C services to patients receiving care in opioid treatment programs (OTPs) presented details of his efforts this month to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which is studying best practices for integrating substance use and infectious disease treatment.

Andrew Talal, MD, professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo and member of a New York state task force seeking strategies for eradicating HCV transmission in the state, has seen encouraging early outcomes from a five-year study of hepatitis C services delivered through telemedicine. He said in a news release from the university that progress on reimbursement for telemedicine must continue, however.

“In order for telemedicine to reach its full potential, reimbursement for telemedicine visits should be equitable to seeing a doctor in an office,” Talal said.

According to the university, Talal's research is finding that OTP patients from underrepresented groups tend to have the greatest acceptance of hepatitis C management services delivered remotely, and any initial concerns about privacy appear to abate as treatment progresses.

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