Langhorne, PA (October 10, 2012)- Polaris Health Directions, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will develop a telehealth delivery system to improve the detection of and treatment or referral for the misuse of alcohol among medical patients. The project is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration recommends using screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment, or SBIRT, to streamline the identification of and service delivery for substance abuse. SBIRT is a means to overcome many of the common barriers that lead to patients falling through the cracks, including time constraints in busy medical settings, screening uncertainty and difficulty identifying appropriate referrals. Unfortunately, despite the proven success of SBIRT, it is rarely available to medical patients, due to the costs of providing these services in the treatment setting.
Polaris and the University of Massachusetts Medical School seek to overcome this obstacle with the Remote Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (R-BIRT) system for alcohol services. The R-BIRT model will employ a counselor who, by telephone, will complete a short motivational interview with the patient using Polaris’s state-of-the-art software. R-BIRT will generate tailored referrals that are matched to a patient’s needs, insurance status and zip code, as well as reports that will be automatically sent to the health care provider and to the patient. The system will also provide to the patient a list of publicly available self-help programs from a pool of vetted resources that have been identified as trustworthy.
By using remote intervention, R-BIRT will provide an option that captures the proven benefits of SBIRT at significantly less cost. It will expand access to interventionists across diverse medical settings and to a clearinghouse of self-help resources. In an era of bloated health care costs and thinly-stretched treatment providers, it will be an efficient, evidence-based system that is cost-effective and can help ensure more patients receive the services they need to get better.
The project described was supported by Award Number 1R41AA022035 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or the National Institutes of Health.
About Polaris Health Directions
Polaris recognizes that organizations cannot manage what they do not measure. Many behavioral health care providers and payers may not be collecting and analyzing enough of the right data to answer basic questions about the cost-effectiveness of the care they offer. Polaris’s advanced technology and science driven assessment systems are designed to capture the clinical data essential to quality improvement and enhanced organizational management. Polaris solutions provide advanced analytics to help organizations improve and demonstrate to their customers the value of their care. With a focus on prediction, Polaris solutions do more than describe clinical change. Polaris systems also indicate if treatment is likely to have a positive result. Helping organizations make better decisions in the present by anticipating the future will be the difference in reducing their costs while improving patient care.