ASAM CONTINUUM – The Year in Review (2020)

In 2020, increasing adoption of the ASAM CONTINUUM and CO-Triage allowed ASAM and FEI to invest in a growing team of researchers, clinician experts, and data and engineering staff. This team collected key insights from users on the ground and emerging needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ASAM introduced major advancements including: remote assessment, a controlled environment version (e.g., for prisons or jails), and a new training course with 8 hours of continuing education credits.

COVID-19 Response: By March 25, 2020, ASAM released an update to adjust questions and responses for telehealth interviewing. The Narrative and Summary Reports were also updated to clearly indicate when the assessments were completed virtually. These revisions aligned with ASAM’s goal of minimizing disruptions to accessing care during the field’s rapid shift to telehealth.

Streamlining: In response to customer feedback, the CONTINUUM Science Team shortened the interview by clarifying overarching questions and implementing extensive skip logic to remove questions that are unnecessary or irrelevant for a given patient. The Science Team also released numerous report enhancements, including streamlining logic, more natural language sequencing in the Narrative Report, and including the specific DSM-5 Criteria in both the Summary and Narrative Reports.

Controlled Environment Version: Based on user need, ASAM launched the ASAM CONTINUUM Re-Entry Interview Script Enhancement (RISE), for patients in a controlled environment who will soon re-enter the community. The RISE re-frames questions to assess patients’ needs upon release.

Decision Engine Improvements: The CONTINUUM Science Team has utilized the growing amounts of empirical data to refine the ASAM CONTINUUM algorithm for increasingly diverse populations – and to advise improvements in The ASAM Criteria textbook. These improvements include:

  • Improving the rate of resolving cases
  • Increasing the specificity of higher Levels of Care recommendations
  • Adding guidance in Dimension 2 – Biomedical questions to increase Levels 4 and 3.7 precision
  • Specifying language and decision rules to improve the specificity of Level 3.3 recommendations
  • Refining the precision of Levels OTP and Level OTS
  • Enhancing the accuracy of Stimulant Use Disorder Level of Care placement

ASAM also formed the ASAM CONTINUUM Education Subcommittee comprised of CONTINUUM users and ASAM expert members who advise ASAM’s development of the CONTINUUM product. The committee reviewed the new standardized ASAM CONTINUUM live 8-hour course launched in April 2020. This course is a dynamic, interactive case-based training with a focus on participatory interviewing practice. The course awards trainees 8 hours of continuing education credit through AMA, ACCME, NAADAC, CAADE, and CADTP.

Growth in 2021: ASAM expects user uptake to increase substantially in 2021. Both ASAM and our software partner,  FEI, will invest further in scientific team expansion, tool development, customer service and quality improvement. This includes subscription management services, a standalone version of CONTINUUM, and new educational materials such as an online version of the ASAM CONTINUUM Course. ASAM CONTINUUM data will be invaluable for informing decision rules for the 4th edition of The ASAM Criteria. Look for new data reports in the new year, which will help guide practice, supervision, and system management. We believe the ASAM CONTINUUM will continue to play a major role in advancing ASAM’s mission to increase access and improve the quality of addiction treatment.

Finally, to the many User Group attendees who provided valuable guidance in 2020 – Thank YOU!