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New app goals to supply very important help to folks battling opioid-use dysfunction

With opioid-overdose deaths reaching an all-time excessive in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, a brand new app developed at UVA Well being helps folks battling opioids get the care they want.

The app, referred to as HOPE (Heal Overcome Persist Endure), goals to supply very important help to sufferers battling opioid-use dysfunction. HOPE gives app customers a straightforward and safe method to join with care suppliers, whereas an nameless message board lets them share their experiences and construct therapeutic relationships with others who will perceive the challenges they face.

An preliminary check of the app in a small group of sufferers at excessive threat of disengaging from their remedy applications discovered that greater than half had been nonetheless receiving care six months later, a quantity bigger than anticipated. Additional, some who stopped seeing their care suppliers continued to make use of the app – a testomony to HOPE’s potential utility in connecting or re-connecting folks to lifesaving care.

“We’re excited to see that sufferers are utilizing the app to remain engaged with restoration companies,” mentioned Rebecca Dillingham, MD, an infectious illness knowledgeable at UVA who helped develop the app. “We partnered with sufferers within the design of the app, and this helped to create a welcoming, low-barrier portal to facilitate staying in care.”

HOPE for opioid remedy

HOPE was born from the success of PositiveLinks, an identical app beforehand developed at UVA Well being to help sufferers with HIV. The event group took what they’d discovered in the course of the creation and testing of PositiveLinks and customised it for folks battling opioid use dysfunction. HOPE options a number of comparable options, reminiscent of help in monitoring remedy adherence and temper, nevertheless it additionally options content material particular to opioid restoration, reminiscent of monitoring substance use and marking experiences, good or unhealthy, alongside the best way.

“The HOPE options offered us essential information to assist monitor the restoration course of in a novel method that we didn’t have entry to earlier than,” mentioned Kelly Schorling, MSW, a social employee who carried out HOPE in her clinic as a part of the research. “We had been in a position to make use of the tracked data to supply extra individualized care and tackle the recognized remedy wants of every affected person enrolled in this system.”

To gauge the utility of the app, the analysis group enrolled 25 volunteers receiving care at UVA’s opioid remedy clinic in the course of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sufferers needed to be at the least 18 years previous; in the event that they did not have a smartphone, they had been offered one, together with a pay as you go telephone plan.

Six months later, 14 of the members – 56% – had been nonetheless receiving care. Contributors who reported that they’d no bother attending to the clinic had been considerably extra prone to be making their clinic visits than those that mentioned journey was an impediment. (Distance to remedy is a standard downside for a lot of rural residents battling opioids, and the opioid epidemic has hit rural areas significantly exhausting.)

The app builders say extra testing with bigger teams is required, however they’ve been inspired by their preliminary outcomes. The app, they imagine, might supply essential help for folks on a tough journey – help that may be carried proper of their pocket.

Our research means that sufferers possess the need and motivation to remain engaged with suppliers and to stay in care. Finally, although, low barrier fashions of care have to be expanded to help that want and extra successfully meet sufferers the place they’re. An app like HOPE can facilitate that sort of care, together with coordination of wanted social help companies, like transportation.”

Jackie Hodges, MD, MPH, infectious illness fellow concerned with the research

Findings revealed

The researchers have described the app and its testing within the journals Dependancy Science & Scientific Follow and Affected person Schooling and Counseling. The papers are by Jacqueline Hodges, Marika Waselewski, William Harrington, Taylor Franklin, Kelly Schorling, Jacqueline Huynh, Alexa Tabackman, Kori Otero, Karen Ingersoll, Nassima Ait‐Daoud Tiouririne, Tabor Flickinger and Rebecca Dillingham.

The work was funded by the Virginia Division of Well being and a UVA Serving to to Heal Dependancy Lengthy-term (HEAL) grant.


Journal reference:

Hodges, J., et al. (2022) Six-month outcomes of the HOPE smartphone utility designed to help remedy with drugs for opioid use dysfunction and piloted throughout an early statewide COVID-19 lockdown. Dependancy Science & Scientific Follow.


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