Substance addiction is one of the most serious and common challenges that Americans face today. The bad news is that people, particularly young people, are increasingly getting hooked to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco and are starting at a younger age.
According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 100 people die every day in the country from drug overdoses and of the 20 million people who have an addiction, the rates of illicit drug use is the highest among those between the ages 18 and 25.
In addition to severely impacting the physical and mental health of the individual battling the addiction, the disease causes major conflicts in families and relationships as well. The challenge is complicated by the fact that the addiction creeps up on individuals and many continue to live in denial. Furthermore, the stigma around the subject means that not many people reach out and ask for help.
However, studies have shown that addiction is a highly treatable disease and 100% recovery is attainable. Modern patient engagement software solutions have shown some success in making the treatment of addiction more effective by making the process more inclusive and empowering. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of interactive patient engagement in addiction treatment.
Addiction Engagement Software Provide Personalized Treatment
An undeniable fact of addiction treatment is that the course of recovery is different for each individual — what works for one may not work for the other. Depending on the physical and mental health of the individual, and the severity of the addiction, personalized treatment plans are often designed by healthcare professionals and doctors.
The increasing use of remote patient monitoring systems such as telehealth services and mobile apps in addiction treatment means that individuals are able to receive the support and care they require, even if they are unable to meet their physicians in person. For example, most addiction treatment programs involve counseling sessions with psychologists. Patient engagement software systems usually ensure remote availability of counselors in case of emergency and provide a sense of security and comfort to the patient.
A 2016 Kaiser Permanente Northern California study shows that substance abuse engagement programs, that focus on the overall health progress, use EHRs, and patient portals to allow patients to communicate and engage with their healthcare providers, are much more satisfactory for the patients and such interactive softwares provide them with higher chances of overcoming their addictions. The study showed that patients who are more involved with their treatment and recovery understand the importance of each step of treatment better, and are more likely to adhere to the same and take better care of themselves.
Patient Engagement Software Enable Timely and Reliable Monitoring
The most important aspect of addiction treatment is consistency. Studies have shown that monitoring the progress and acknowledging each step forward is a motivation to control addiction. For example, alcoholics can regularly monitor their blood alcohol levels as a way to stay accountable. Patient engagement portals take this to the next level by providing a comprehensive report of the patient’s health progress in various parameters. Test results, behaviors, attitudes, and progress made in counseling can be monitoring reliably using remote health monitoring systems.
Caregivers and health professionals can monitor the progress made by patients and provide the most effective and relevant treatment needed. This allows for timely detection and intervention whenever the results point toward a red flag. In addition to keeping a tab on relapses, remote health monitoring software systems allow physicians and counselors to treat not just the substance abuse disorder but take into account other medical issues related to age and gender.
Furthermore, a continuous assessment helps in finding the right combination of medicines needed by a patient. Since addiction treatment programs need to be modified with time, keeping a track of the progress becomes imperative to design a treatment that varies according to the patient’s needs and gives the best results.
Interactive Substance Abuse Engagement Software Reduce the Chances of Relapse
Relevant, timely, and critical support and information given to patients when they need it the most is likely to help them maintain their abstinence. However, even with the best possible care and treatment, the chances of relapse for people battling addiction are as high as 40-60%. However, patient engagement programs impact critical preventative care information and also allow patients to comprehensively understand their treatment and recovery. This allows them to understand the significance of each and every step of the journey and helps them make more informed and aware decisions.
Patients involved in opioid addiction engagement programs, as shown by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California study, also seek more medical advice and review medical information more frequently as compared to other patients. Since patients who are battling addiction have complex health needs, keeping them aware of the intricacies of the same helps them adhere to the treatment program more effectively and reduces the chances of a relapse.
Additionally, addiction engagement software solutions allow patients to communicate more effectively with their healthcare providers and seek help whenever they need. By making patients aware of the gravity of the disease and the pitfalls of falling off the wagon, patient engagement programs are able to communicate the urgency and criticality of abstinence.
Patient management and monitoring programs help make addiction treatment more effective by assuring patients that addiction is treatable inclusive and accessible. Patients who are aware of the impact of their actions and choices will be more likely to make the right call. Furthermore, the availability of medical aid, advice, and information instantly ensures a consistent support system which is not the case in traditional groups or individual counseling sessions.
By allowing the patient to take charge of their recovery journey, substance abuse disorder engagement programs cultivate cooperation and active involvement from the patient, thus, using positive reinforcements to keep patients motivated. Establishing a permanent channel of communication not only helps build trust but also increases the chances of a patient seeking help when they need it the most. Finally, patient engagement programs and strategies are able to dispel myths and preconceived notions regarding addiction and substance abuse by providing accurate and relevant information to patients and their caregivers, which is by far, one of the most important achievements.