The U.S. Surgeon General’s new reportFacing Addiction in America” examines the current state of substance use disorders in the United States and proposes a variety of solutions for treatment and prevention, including pushing for the integration of information technology.

Around 20 percent of addiction treatment centers have already adopted electronic health record (EHR) systems that allow for facilitated and effective treatments and more seamless communication. EHR systems are a form of telehealth, or “the use of technologies … to support the delivery of health care, health-related education, or health related services and functions.”

There has also been an increase in electronic-based screenings and assessments for addiction disorders. Online questionnaires like Check Your Drinking allow the public to be educated about their own alcohol use and how it affects their health and financial stability. Online screenings are a tangible approach to preventing alcoholism and drug addiction.

In addition, cognitive behavioral treatment programs have become available on the internet, providing “many of the tools that are commonly used in face-to­-face settings such as drinking diaries, goal setting exercises, and relapse­ prevention techniques,” according to The Use of Emerging Technologies in Alcohol Treatment, a paper published by three accomplished doctors of behavioral health.

Electronic Treatment Interventions are resources that are used to treat substance use disorders by targeting specific demographics, such as veterans, with online and telephone-based treatment. Online support groups and the expansion of cell phone technology are benefitting addiction recovery by allowing… (continue reading)