UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sector-independent treatment coordination for people with substance-related disorders following an online assessment (ASSIST): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial Mueller-Stierlin, Annabel S.; Röhrig, Jeanette; Goetzl, Christian; Krausz, Michael; Lehle, Jutta; Prestin, Elke; Schoch, Vanessa-Emily; Sutter, Lorenz; Westenberg, Jean; Cabanis, Maurice


Background The implementation of person-centred, need-oriented and flexible care for people with substance-related problems is often insufficient, in large part due to the complexity of addiction support services among different providers. A standardized online assessment and subsequent sector-independent treatment coordination could provide individuals with more appropriate services, thereby making better use of individual services and leading to a more effective addiction support system as a whole. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sector-independent treatment coordination following an online assessment, in comparison with the current standard of care and treatment process in Germany. Methods The sample size of this randomized, controlled trial has been set to a total of 400 participants with substance-related problems. Participants living in Stuttgart, Germany, will be randomly allocated to (1) the intervention group with immediate online assessment and subsequent sector-independent treatment coordination (ASSIST) or (2) the waitlist group. Participants in the waitlist group will initially remain in usual care and only be provided with the online assessment 6 months later. Short-term effects (over 2 months) and medium-term effects (over 6 months) of ASSIST will be compared between the intervention and the waitlist groups. The primary outcome is improved treatment satisfaction. Secondary outcomes include improved subjective quality of life and empowerment, reductions in patients’ substance use, unmet needs and illness-related clinical and social impairment. Health economic evaluation as well as quantitative and qualitative process evaluations will be conducted. Discussion The results of this study are expected to provide information on whether sector-independent treatment coordination following an online assessment contributes to improved health care service provision for people with substance-related problems. This randomized controlled trial will help identify facilitators and barriers to the sustainable implementation of a cross-sectoral care concept in substance abuse services. Trial registration German Clinical Trial Register DRKS00026996 . Registered on 29 October 2021

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