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Development of an in-home telehealth program for outpatient veterans with substance use disorders.

Santa Ana EJ, Stallings DL, Rounsaville BJ, Martino S. Development of an in-home telehealth program for outpatient veterans with substance use disorders. Psychological Services. 2013 Aug 1; 10(3):304-314.

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A variety of obstacles (e.g., lack of transportation, less availability of treatment in rural districts) contribute to underutilization of treatment among patients with substance use disorders, warranting the need to develop innovative strategies for enhancing access to treatment for these patients. The telehealth in-home-messaging-device is a small message-delivering and monitoring device connected via landline phone to a secure server that provides assessment and disease self-management education to patients in their homes. We describe the development of a Substance Use Disorder telehealth management program (SUD program) for use on this device and a feasibility pilot of the program with six outpatient veterans with substance use disorders referred by their primary medical care providers. These patients indicated that the SUD program was acceptable, easy to use, and helpful toward addressing their substance use problems. Home telehealth technology may be an innovative and feasible approach for providing substance abuse evidence-based treatment either as an adjunct to specialty treatment for substance use disorders or as a stand-alone intervention within primary care for a larger number of patients who may otherwise not access traditional treatment services.

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