The client was looking for innovations that use digital technology to do a number of things, including;
Foster peer-to-peer or volunteer-led support within the alcohol recovery support of their service provision;
Broker and sustain mentoring or support existing mentoring relationships;
Enable service users to have self-confidence/awareness to remain alcohol free;
To be cost effective and support reduced re-referrals within 6 months of discharge from structured alcohol treatment;
Enhancing existing service provision for alcohol misuse;
Increase service user engagement and sustainability by using mobile technology to extend the provision of psychological support to service users;
Remote monitoring of service users self-reported level of need;
Improvement of service user safety, the timeliness of interventions received and service provider resource management.
To create Evie; a web-based software interfacing with SMS mobile technology. Once embedded in service delivery, this technology expands the provision of psychological support to those in recovery. It is a relapse prevention system that uses text messages to support service users in recovery and has three distinct features;
Text message appointment reminders sent to an individuals’ mobile phone in advance of their next appointment asking to confirm attendance; a tried and tested methodology that increases the likelihood of attendance and therefore engagement with the service.
Motivational (evidence based) questions are sent to service users on a variable basis. They are asked to respond in one of three ways indicating their level of need at that time.
Dependant on the client’s response, the system either replies with personalised motivational statements/reminders that have been co-developed with the client throughout treatment or if support is required by the service user the service would contact the service user directly.
An online dashboard allows service providers to visually see an individuals’ current status, therefore enabling the worker to prioritise need and resources. Within the dashboard they can input personalised responses/questions, add appointments, determine frequency of messages, monitor DNA rates, response rates and the message history, add notes, input data from ‘mind maps’ and view their own calendar.
Within an 18 month period of using the system with this client, 169 individuals registered with the Evie system. Feedback was extremely positive in terms of the support they felt the system gave them, the ‘safety net’ it offered once discharged from structured treatment and the feeling that ‘someone was there’ for them if they ‘wobbled’. Ultimately keeping them engaged with services and preventing relapse.
In terms of representation rates, in one area of the individuals registered on Evie (169 service users), there was no representations to structured treatment. Within the other area, of the service users who registered on Evie (72 service users) only 3 service users (4%) represented to structured treatment. Therefore, overall for the whole project this equates to a 1% representation rate of Evie service users (3/41).
The technologies can be operated in traditional key worker models or though peer to peer support dependent on service need and direction. The system also has the ability to create dashboards to manage the hierarchy of staff from team leaders to peer mentors, giving an easy way in which to visually see how caseloads of clients are being managed and by whom.