Posted April 4, 2014

Temple to examine disease management and substance use

People with substance-use disorders often either have mixed feelings about seeking treatment or face significant barriers in engaging in proper treatment. To help them, the Treatment Research Institute (TRI) and the School of Medicine at Temple have received a $2 million award to study the use of specialized, community disease management to reduce substance use and hospital readmissions. The funding was awarded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Under the direction of Adam Brooks, senior research scientist at TRI, the study will examine adapting evidence-based interventions to a community disease-management program. The program will employ a trained clinical social worker and a peer-specialist community health worker who will provide evidence-based continuing care by telephone and home visits, with an increased focus on patients’ substance use.

“Patients hospitalized with substance-use disorders face significant complications in their medical care and require specialized follow-up care and disease management,” Brooks said. “There is an enormous opportunity in our current healthcare system to adapt appropriate disease management for these patients. That transition also will reduce hospital readmissions and overall costs to the system.”

Conducted in collaboration with the Center for Population Health and the Department of Psychiatry at Temple, the study will evaluate whether or not that approach can improve outcomes for patients at Temple University Hospital, versus an existing disease-management program after hospital discharge. It also will explore the need for hospital systems to provide dedicated attention to patients with substance-use disorders.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this study and offer personalized care for patients with substance-use disorders contemplating treatment,” said Mary Morrison, vice chair for research and professor of psychiatry at Temple.

Morrison will be joined by Steven R. Carson, vice president for clinical integration at Temple University Health System, in leading the intervention at Temple University Hospital.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby.

Additionally, the study is one of 82 proposals funded in December by PCORI, an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress that funds research to provide patients, caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information necessary to make better-informed healthcare decisions.