1. Using mobile app technology to improve monitoring of patient progress has been seen as a recovery enhancer, but gaining counselor buy-in can be difficult. “Clinicians don't change easily,” says Treatment Research Institute (TRI) senior scientist John Cacciola, PhD, architect of TRI's RecoveryTrack outcome monitoring system. “They say, 'We already ask these questions.'”
2. A mobile version of RecoveryTrack therefore was designed to place the patient in greater control. Users are asked to complete daily and weekly assessments, and can connect directly with their clinician when their answers indicate they're struggling.
3. A patient goal might be something as straightforward as better relations with a family member. “I look at it like a Fitbit for clients with an addictive disorder,” says Cacciola.
4. TRI pilot-tested RecoveryTrack-Mobile, designed for use both during and after outpatient care, with 16 patients over 8 weeks. Self-report and objective measures of drug use showed consistent abstinence rates at baseline and follow-up. Thirteen of the 16 patients completed most of the weekly assessments. Patients generally engaged more than their counselors did in the post-treatment stage.
5. The process is relatively easy to implement; patients in the pilot used their own smartphone. For the clinician, “You can use the check-in anyway you want—to motivate, to problem-solve, or to give homework,” Cacciola says.