Workshop Participants Envision How Technology Could Improve Addiction Treatment

The Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis (CHSRA) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, convened two meetings in November 2004 and May 2005 on the application of technological innovations to the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse disorders (SUDs).

Key Results

  • During the first meeting, held in Chicago in 2004, experts in technology heard from people with personal knowledge of the SUD treatment system about their encounters with the barriers to good care the current system erected.

    This meeting led to planning for the workshop, held May 5–6, 2005 at RWJF in Princeton, N.J. At the meeting substance abuse treatment practitioners and several technology experts identified opportunities for improvement in three key areas:

    • Understanding addiction and strategies for prevention among children, parents and policy-makers.
    • Proactive identification of people at risk (and linking this into the medical care system).
    • Personal case management and ongoing support of people in recovery.

Key Conclusion

  • Summing up, the technologies will be able to help with relapse prevention—identifying and responding to triggers that lead a person with a chronic disease (i.e., SUD) to initiate counterproductive behavior, or to counteract the effect of these triggers. These new technologies will turn patients and their families into their own case managers.