TeleCoach - Automated telephone support in psychiatry with a focus on alcohol
|Coordinator||Karolinska institutet - Institutionen för klinisk neurovetenskap, Huddinge|
|Funding from Vinnova||SEK 4 968 000|
|Project duration||September 2009 - December 2012|
Purpose and goal
Over 15% of the Swedish population has a hazardous or harmful use of alcohol (risky use). Individuals with risky use are found in the general population as well as within healthcare treatment systems. Simple questions about alcohol consumption for identification of possible problems, as well as brief focussed counselling sessions have frequently been shown to suffice for individuals to reduce their risky alcohol use. Prior research has shown that automated telephone support can be an effective help in reducing risky use of alcohol, but such a telephone system with easy individual access does not exist at present. A system that offers continuous, easily accessible support for self-change of risky alcohol habits is automated telephone support (Interactive Voice Response-IVR). For persons who have sought professional healthcare treatment, the system can transfer relevant information to the treatment provider between personal visits. The objective of the current project is to enable individuals with risky alcohol use to easily gain access to a tested self-help tool.
Results and expected effects
The expected outcomes of three randomized, controlled studies are reduced risky use of alcohol among alcohol hotline help-seekers from the general population, psychiatric outpatients and addiction treatment outpatients. The latter group is also expected to improve treatment adherence.
Approach and implementation
In this project, we will develop two IVR systems for identification of risky alcohol use and automated brief intervention: a counseling system called TeleCoach (with sessions of 5-20 minutes) and a simpler self-monitoring support (session of under 2 minutes). Participants in three research projects among help-seekers calling a national alcohol hotline, psychiatric outpatients and addiction treatment outpatients will be randomized to one of three groups: call-up by TeleCoach or simpler IVR 4 times during one month, or only follow-up. Outcomes will be measured after 6 months.