• Using text messages to support recovering substance misusers

      McClelland, Gabrielle T.; Duffy, P.; Davda, P. (2018-09)
      Background: The use of digital technology in health and social care is developing rapidly. It is promoted in UK policy and research which suggests varied results surrounding its implementation and outcomes. Introduction: This article aimed to test the implementation and outcomes of a short messaging service sent to a dedicated phone. The target cohort were drug treatment clients in two sites in Northern England. Materials and methods: Through staff focus groups and interviews with a small cohort of clients, the implementation and perceptions of the system were examined. Results: Nineteen participants were recruited to site 1 (15 male, 4 female, average age=37.7 years) and 12 participants were recruited to site 2 (9 male, 3 female, average age=40.3 years). One outcome that was of interest was well-being in treatment which, in this study, was described as an overall sense of feeling better rather than just focusing on the rehabilitation aspect of the programme. Other outcomes included: the successful completion of treatment and any relapse or associated reported drug use. Discussion: The system shows some evidence of its ‘social actor’ role; however, its implementation was hindered by staff citing that it called for increased resources. For future implementation the use of client’s own phones may be considered which may help to embed the system more fully in recovery planning and targeting clients at a different treatment stage. Conclusions: Despite some indications of positive results for clients and a perception that the system may have value as an addition to existing clinical interventions, more evaluation is required to determine whether this system can be implemented in a drug treatment setting.