Improving entry into treatment for opioid use disorder at CHA
CHA’s local communities have been deeply affected by the increasing prevalence of opioid use disorder – with many people touched by overdose deaths among friends or family, or seeing the life dysfunction experienced by people with untreated disease. Patients with addiction often have chaos in their daily lives and deep ambivalence about seeking treatment, so it is critical for a health-care system to be able to get them into treatment quickly when they are experiencing a help-seeking moment. In recent years, we have built mental health and addiction services in primary care (which decreases stigma) and added addiction treatment capacity across CHA, but we have not yet developed a coordinated intake and navigation system across our multiple sites to help ensure that patients find the treatment setting that best meets their needs. For my 2017 Gold Foundation fellowship project, I plan to work with colleagues in primary care and addiction psychiatry, as well as CHA’s IT department, to design and build a patient-friendly central navigation system – so that patients can get quickly matched to a treatment setting and smoothly transferred from one setting to another when needed. Our system will build on the experiences of patients who have made it into treatment and told us their stories, while keeping an eye out for those who seem to experience barriers (and try to address them) – so that we can get as many patients smoothly into treatment as possible.