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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2005 Nov 1;80(2):177-89.

Getting patients the services they need using a computer-assisted system for patient assessment and referral--CASPAR.

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  • 1Treatment Research Institute and University of Pennsylvania, 600 Public Ledger Building, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3475, USA.


The two goals of this technology transfer study were to: (1) increase the number and appropriateness of services received by substance abuse patients, and thereby (2) give clinical meaning and value to research-based assessment information. A software-based Resource Guide was developed to allow counselors to easily identify local resources for referral of their patients to additional clinical and social services. Two hours of training were provided on the use of the guide. It was hoped that this software and training would provide the counselors with a concrete method of linking the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) assessment information on patient problems to appropriate, available community services. We expected improved treatment planning, increased problem services matching, better patient-counselor rapport/satisfaction and better patient-performance during treatment. Data were analyzed from 131 patients of 33 counselors from 9 treatment programs, randomly assigned to 2 groups--Standard Assessment (SA) or Enhanced Assessment (EA). Patients of counselors in the EA group (1) had treatment plans that were better matched to their needs, (2) received significantly more and better-matched services than patients in the SA group, and (3) were less likely to leave treatment against medical advice and more likely to complete the full course of treatment than patients of counselors in the SA group. They did not have higher levels of patient satisfaction or helping alliance scores. These findings are discussed with regard to integrating empirically supported procedures into contemporary, community-based substance abuse treatment.

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