I have been a substance use counselor for nearly 17 years. When I started, a patient that used opioids or heroin was uncommon; now, if a patient has not used opioids or has never overdosed, we are mildly surprised. When suboxone (buprenorphine) arrived on the scene, we all thought our opioid crisis was over; little did we know. I was talking to one of my coworkers, who is friends with one of the local EMTs; she stated that our town has 6-10 overdoses daily. The population of our town is only around 100,000 people.
Dr. Jonathan Neufeld, the Program Director of the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (gpTRAC) has spent the last 15 years steering healthcare organizations toward telehealth solutions. When he began his work in the field, few people were talking about telehealth technology; but once COVID-19 entered the picture, healthcare organizations realized that this underutilized treatment option became a necessity for patients and providers.
In this video interview, Dr. Neufeld identifies factors that organizations should consider when integrating telehealth technology into their practices, current technology constraints for treating patients, and a glimpse of the technological future that could be awaiting us.
The International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (IsfTeh) has endorsed three of TCI’s training programs.
Technology in Couple and Family Relationships
I can remember the first time I ever used the Internet. I was just starting high school and my parents had gotten a computer with something called “Prodigy”, an online service allowing dial-up connection to the Internet. I can still hear the sound of the modem waiting for the screen to come up; the anticipation of when the connection would be made; and being amazed I could write a report without looking up something in the musty, nearly-complete set of Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia in the dank and webby basement. No disrespect to Funk & Wagnalls, but there was something more magical about being able to have information with the satisfying click of a keyboard.
Fast forward 30 years: I have built a career on investigating how that little click of a mouse and the buzz of a modem coming to life has impacted nearly everything we do in our relationships. The speed with which we have adopted our technologies is unlike any other advances in modern life including the Industrial Revolution. The world has exponentially adopted Internet technologies at an astonishing rate. For example, Asia has the highest number of Internet users with close to 3 billion. Closer to home, nearly 94% of the North American population is connected (Internet World Stats, 2023).
Every year, the month of March is recognized as Social Work Month. Social Work Month is a time to not only honor the past achievements and successes in the field but also to serve as a call to action for the work ahead of us still left to do. The 2023 theme for Social Work Month is “Social Work Breaks Barriers”. Every day, social workers, and our allied health professional colleagues, help to break down barriers that prevent people from living more enriched, fulfilling lives. In addition to the direct services we provide to individuals, families, couples, and groups, we also work to advocate at a systems level to ensure that laws and policies are adopted so everyone can live safely and to their fullest potential. This year’s Social Work Month theme recognizes that there continues to be barriers of all shapes and sizes that prevent people and communities from thriving. A prime example of these barriers is seen within the lack of cultural competency for providers working with LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Agender/Asexual, and other members of the community who identify with a sexual orientation or gender identity that isn’t included within the LGBTQIA acronym) clients and the socio-political environment surrounding transgender and non-binary individuals, especially youth, in our country.