Patient Attitudes Towards Use of Zoom-Based Telemedicine for Outpatient SUD Treatment

Josie Francois, BA

McLean Hospital
Patient Attitudes Towards Use of Zoom-Based Telemedicine for Outpatient SUD Treatment

Scientific Abstract


Background: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs moved online. In the early days of the pandemic, care providers scrambled to transition to online treatment and prepare patients. Individual and group sessions now regularly occur on Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms, and telepsychiatry is likely to be an integral part of mental health care for the foreseeable future. There has been much speculation that many patients will be unable to participate in virtual care due to technological limitations, life circumstances, unwillingness, or perceived ineffectiveness. The purpose of this project was to evaluate patient attitudes regarding preparation for using and use of Zoom for telepsychiatry and outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

Methods: Patients who attended a group meeting intended to prepare them to transition to outpatient SUD care completed a survey about their preparation to transition to virtual outpatient treatment.

Results: Of the 25 participants surveyed, 88% were certain that they would have the necessary tools (internet-enabled device and internet access) to participate in Zoom-based care. The majority of participants (76%) had used Zoom previously and felt very (56%) or somewhat comfortable (28%) comfortable using Zoom for virtual care. Participants cited concerns about using Zoom, namely privacy, confidentiality, lack of face-to-face interactions, distractions, and other difficulties inherent to video interactions.

Conclusions: Overall, participants felt prepared to successfully transition to Zoom-based outpatient SUD treatment. Patients receiving inpatient SUD care at McLean appear to be well positioned to successfully transition to outpatient telemedical care.

Live Zoom Session – April 21st

research Areas


Josie Francois, BA, Monika Kolodziej, PhD, Olivera Bogunovic, MD