Understanding the use of telemedicine across different opioid use disorder treatment models: a scoping review

Joseph Tay*, Jenna Butner, Alexander M. Baldacchino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has instigated the development of telemedicine-mediated provision of medications for opioid use disorder such as buprenorphine and methadone, referred to as TMOUD in this study. As services start to return to pre-pandemic norms, there is a debate around the role of TMOUD as addition to or replacement of the conventional cascade of care for people with opioid use disorder (PWOUD). This scoping review is designed to characterize existing TMOUD services and provide insights to enable a more nuanced discussion on the role of telemedicine in the care of PWOUD.

The literature search was conducted in OVID Medline, CINAHL, and PsycINFO, from inception up to and including April 2023, using the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for scoping reviews. The review considered any study design that detailed sufficient descriptive information on a given TMOUD service. A data extraction form was developed to collect and categorize a range of descriptive characteristics of each discrete TMOUD model identified from the obtained articles.

A total of 45 articles met the inclusion criteria, and from this, 40 discrete TMOUD services were identified. In total, 33 services were US-based, three from Canada, and one each from India, Ireland, the UK, and Norway. Through a detailed analysis of TMOUD service characteristics, four models of care were identified. These were TMOUD to facilitate inclusion health, to facilitate transitions in care, to meet complex healthcare needs, and to maintain opioid use disorder (OUD) service resilience.

Characterizing TMOUD according to its functional benefits to PWOUD and OUD services will help support evidence-based policy and practice. Additionally, particular attention is given to how digital exclusion of PWOUD can be mitigated against.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
Early online date4 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sept 2023


  • Telemedicine
  • Opoid use disorder
  • Medication for opoid use disorder
  • COVID-19
  • Inclusion health
  • Digital divide
  • Digital inequality


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