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Randomized controlled trial of enhanced telephone monitoring with detoxification patients: 3- and 6-month outcomes.

Timko C, Below M, Vittorio L, Taylor E, Chang G, Lash S, Festin FED, Brief D. Randomized controlled trial of enhanced telephone monitoring with detoxification patients: 3- and 6-month outcomes. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2019 Apr 1; 99:24-31.

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Telehealth interventions have the potential to deter repeated detoxification episodes and improve outcomes. Using a sample of 298 detoxification inpatients, this randomized controlled trial compared Enhanced Telephone Monitoring (ETM) to usual care (UC) on the primary outcome of reducing subsequent detoxification, and secondary outcomes of linking patients to addiction treatment and mutual-help, and patients' experience of improved substance use and mental health outcomes. At the 3-month follow-up (i.e., at the end of the ETM intervention), compared to UC patients, ETM patients were significantly less likely to have received additional inpatient detoxification, but no more likely to have participated in 12-step groups or received outpatient addiction treatment. Even so, ETM patients had better alcohol, drug, and mental health outcomes. In contrast, at the 6-month follow-up, patients in ETM and UC generally did not differ on primary or secondary outcomes. Findings suggest that ETM deters additional detoxification episodes while the intervention is ongoing, but not after the intervention ends. Because telephone monitoring is low-intensity and low-cost, its extension over time may help reduce repeated detoxifications.

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