Smartphone Application to Prevent Alcohol Relapse: a Clinical Trial

David H Gustafson* Andrew J Isham*
David H Gustafson*, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Madison, United States
Andrew J Isham*, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Madison, United States

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Building virtual communities and social networking applications for patients and consumers
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Auditorium 120
Date: 2011-09-18 03:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-15

If you are the presenter of this abstract (or if you cite this abstract in a talk or on a poster), please show the QR code in your slide or poster (QR code contains this URL).


A key characteristic of alcoholism is that it leads to: quality of life, relationship, public health and safety problems, and increases healthcare costs. Successful relapse prevention is marked by: ongoing duration, assertive outreach, monitoring, prompts, action planning, case manager, peer and family support. We are conducting a randomized trial of a smart phone system (ACHESS) designed to meet these criteria. ACHESS is an application that is run on the Palm Pre and HTC Evo 4G smartphones, and includes the following functionalities: Connection with a support team (other ACHESS users) that includes photo sharing, discussion group and healthy event planning. Use of GPS to detect when user is near a high-risk location (for example, a liquor store), which initiates an alert that offers the user tailored coping recommendations (immediately listen to guided relaxation, video chat with counselor, join discussion group, etc.). A brief weekly survey (pushed via text message notification) to detect impending relapse, the results of which inform tailored coping recommendations, and can be accessed by counselor via a web portal. Streaming audio of others in recovery telling their stories. Use of GPS to locate nearby support meetings (AA, NA, etc.). A “panic button” that notifies friends of the need for support and pushes tailored coping recommendations. Counselors of ACHESS users can access survey information, receive notification when users have pressed the panic button, and contact users via the ACHESS application.
180 people recently discharged from residential addiction treatment for alcohol dependency have been assigned to either the ACHESS or a control group. Outcomes being examined include risky drinking days and system use.
Research in progress. At four-month follow-up, ACHESS reduced risky drinking days by 40% compared to the control group. ACHESS use analysis found that: younger patients (<30) are no more likely than older ones to use ACHESS; mean numbers of days use is 65 out of a possible 123; most frequently used applications include open discussion groups, status reporting, communications with their support team and team feed (a dynamically generated list of recent support team ACHESS activities, such as photos posted, comments, etc.).
Research in progress. The presentation will demonstrate ACHESS, describe the study details and present outcomes for both the four and eight month posttest periods as well as discuss the implication of this research for mHealth potential to affect chronic disease self management and offer suggestions for designing such systems.

Medicine 2.0® is happy to support and promote other conferences and workshops in this area. Contact us to produce, disseminate and promote your conference or workshop under this label and in this event series. In addition, we are always looking for hosts of future World Congresses. Medicine 2.0® is a registered trademark of JMIR Publications Inc., the leading academic ehealth publisher.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.