ASAM Criteria Software Plenary Outlines Impending Product Launch

ASAM Criteria Software Plenary Outlines Impending Product Launch

by Brendan McEntee | Oct 13, 2014

ASAM member Dr. David Gastfriend is showcasing The ASAM Criteria Software October 17 at the Addiction Health Services Research Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Gastfriend’s presentation reviews more than 20 research papers on the software, the alpha, beta and national demonstration project evaluations of the software, and the implications for health services researchers with the impending software launch.

“Addiction assessment is in a sorry state of affairs,” said Dr. Gastfriend, “there’s literally no standard model. As a result, managed care utilization reviewers keep demanding more data from treatment providers. A Harvard Business School study revealed that these telephone-tag battles can take days – and cause patients to drop out before even starting treatment. Programs that used The ASAM Criteria Software found that it speeded up managed care authorizations and increased the likelihood of authorizations – in addition to improving the quality of addiction care.”

The software, which Dr. Gastfriend will showcase, provides a means of standardizing medical necessity admissions criteria and the possibility of providing a universal, quantitative clinical dataset for every patient for whom insurance claims are paid.

“The software builds on ASAM’s success in providing a way to assess and make care decisions based on individual needs and care quality rather than cost,” said Dr. Gastfriend. “That underlying goal has been the mission of the criteria since ASAM released its first text edition in 1991. With the software, we are taking the next steps by addressing subjective interpretation in patient assessment that has plagued the addiction field.”

Construction of this ASAM clinical decision support software began in the 1990s with NIH funding. The software was finalized for national release with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). Dr. Gastfriend’s talk will cover 20 years of controlled research using computerized implementations of ASAM’s Criteria, including international validation of the software.

“Over $8 million of research funding and another $1 million of web application development has been put into the software,” said Dr. Gastfriend. “Thanks to SAMHSA, ASAM is now finalizing its release of The ASAM Criteria Software to the entire US treatment field, via behavioral health information technology vendors and large systems.”

Dr. Gastfriend’s presentation will showcase The ASAM Criteria Software and its counselor-ready interview. The software uses an intricate branched-chain algebraic decision tree to conduct treatment planning based on The ASAM Criteria text that was released in 2013.

“The implications are broad,” said Dr. Gastfriend, “the year-long Harvard Business School case study of this new tool indicated that managed care would seriously consider replacing the current telephone utilization review process with in-the-moment electronic uploading of the data from a patient’s ASAM software assessment to provide instant reimbursement authorizations.”

The release of the software comes at a time when current policy intersections in health IT, parity, and healthcare reform create a watershed moment for the addiction field.