From the Ivory Tower to the Clinic: Polaris Study on Translating Addictions Research into Practice Published in Addictive Behaviors

Polaris Health Directions has published new findings in the journal Addictive Behaviors on the value of using an outcomes management system for chemical dependency in managed care treatment programs.

The article, “Translating addictions research into evidence-based practice: The Polaris-CD outcomes management system,” discusses the implementation lessons and impact of Polaris-CD in a ten-year plus project that focused on improving clinical care. The system’s successful use in managed care is a paradigm for incorporating important research discoveries on how to improve addictions outcomes into practice in the clinical environment.

With the advent of decision support technology such as Polaris-CD, closing the divide between academia and practice is no longer an ideal, but is achievable and necessary to improving patient response to care.

The authors describe four studies that were instrumental to the development of Polaris-CD, including models on matching patients to services and predicting patient response to treatment, such as the likelihood of dropout or relapse, and then show how the findings of these studies can be applied in treatment programs through the use of outcomes management systems to help providers make better-informed decisions and improve patient outcomes.

In addition to illustrating the role of Polaris-CD in delivering evidence-based care, the article advocates for the powerful potential outcomes management systems hold for the addictions treatment field. Specifically, Polaris-CD “learns” from treatment successes and failures as it collects data on an ongoing basis. Its ability to identify which types of interventions will be most effective for which types of patients is continuously honed, and with the system as a clinical guide, programs should see a reduction in relapse and dropout rates.

The article was published online in January in advance of the print edition. The print version will appear in the June 2011 issue. It was authored by Drs. Linda Toche-Manley and Grant Grissom and Laura Dietzen, of Polaris, and Scott Sangsland, of Kaiser Permanente.

For more information on this article or Polaris-CD, send an e-mail to


This project was supported by 2 R44 DA 10251-02 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.