NIATx Researchers at the 2015 Addiction Health Services Research Conference

Submitted by: 11/11/2015 by Maureen Fitzgerald

The Addiction Health Services Research (AHSR) Conference, hosted this year by the Pacific Southwest ATTC Center and UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, brings addiction researchers, clinicians, treatment providers, and policy makers together to present their latest findings. 

With the theme “Navigating a Changing Healthcare Landscape,” this year’s conference featured a panel presentation by Todd Molfenter and Kim Johnson  along with UW-Madison faculty members Dr. Randall Brown of the UW Medical School and Marie-Louise Mares of the UW Department of Communication Arts. Drs. Brown and Mares are members of the study teams for two current Center projects.  

NIATx researcher Andrew Quanbeck moderated the presentation

Molfenter gave an overview of a Wisconsin-based project he’s leading that aims to improve transitions from detox to continuing care. This project relies on using a checklist (inspired by Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto) and practice “bundles” – a group of procedures that have been effective in improving transitions: warm hand-offs, short wait times, and better communication between the detox center and the continuing care provider.

The six Wisconsin detoxification centers that are participating in the project represent more that 50% of the state’s detox discharges. The project followed the NIATx learning collaborative model, launching in September 2014 with NIATx training, followed by a site visit and monthly coaching.

“Early results indicate that this combination of practices can improve continuation from detox to after care,” says Molfenter. “Our next steps after analyzing the data will be to refine the model for testing in a larger randomized trial.”

Dr. Johnson presented on the dissemination of evidence-based practices (EBPs) using social networking tools. Her study was a secondary analysis of data from the NIATx 200 study. Johnson and her colleagues assessed whether social network structure and status of individual organizations could predict adoption of EBPs. They found that the networks in five different states were all similarly organized as loosely connected groups with no “cliques.” This result indicated that there were few barriers to the diffusion of new practices, but that new ideas would spread slowly.

Dr. Brown discussed project that he and Quanbeck are conducting that aims to standardize practices for prescribing opioids in primary care This project is also using a checklist and a variation of the NIATx model called “systems consultation.” A unique component of this project is the use of peer-to-peer physician coaching.

Marie-Louise Mares is a member of the research team for SEVA, a version of A-CHESS, the smart phone developed by the Center to help people maintain recovery after discharge from addiction treatment services. Dr. Mares described a NIDA-funded project that is testing SEVA as a technology tool for integrating substance use disorders services and primary care in federally qualified health centers in Madison, Boston, and Missoula, Montana.

“Implementation science researchers and healthcare practitioners are constantly in search of more effective implementation strategies,” says Quanbeck. “In our symposium, we highlighted a diverse set of tools researchers can consider as they are seeking innovative approaches to dissemination and implementation challenges in addiction treatment and primary care.”

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