The ASAM Criteria Software National Demonstration

The ASAM Criteria Software National Demonstration Launch
by David R. Gastfriend, MD | Feb 17, 2014
ASAM is taking a step toward the future of addiction medicine with the launch of the National Demonstration Project for The ASAM Criteria Software, which will provide clinicians with a computer-guided, structured interview for assessing and caring for patients with addictive, substance-related and co-occurring conditions.

This event follows two decades of research, $7 million in grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adoption of the ASAM Criteria by over 30 US states and international study of the software by Belgium, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Switzerland and Uzbekistan.

A year-long study by Harvard Business School concluded that the software should be developed for national release through a licensing process that would generate annual revenues to help ASAM sustain and improve the criteria. The Substance and Mental Health Services Administration provided extensive support and guidance to revise the research version so that U.S. treatment programs could access the software via the internet. This dream has now become reality.

In the past year, ASAM held numerous workshops and presentations, and over 200 treatment systems expressed interest in adopting the software. ASAM has selected over 30 provider systems to start using the software, beginning in early 2014. During the National Demonstration Project, ASAM will gather information on the experience working with the software like the learning curve, the rate of successful placements, conflicts with managed care and geographic unavailability of needed services.

Participating organizations include states, counties, criminal justice systems, the U.S. military and programs in multiple foreign countries. These early adopters are programs whose leaders are technology-savvy and interested in harnessing computerized clinical decision support software for the benefit of their patients. ASAM is also exploring with SAMHSA securing meaningful use certification for the software so that treatment systems may seek eligibility for federal health IT dollars.

ASAM is fortunate in having two outstanding partners in this venture: The Change Companies® (TCC) and FEi Systems, Inc. TCC is publisher for The ASAM Criteria book and will be coordinating the National Demonstration Project, being the direct link between the demonstration sites and providing education that will orient intake clinicians as to how to use the software.

FEi Systems Inc. is a leading software developer to states and SAMHSA. The organization has programmed the software and is housing servers as well as providing data security following HIPPA & 42CFR.

“The book is the companion tool to the software,” said Chief Editor of The ASAM Criteria book, David Mee-Lee, MD.

Stay tuned for an interim report on the progress of the National Demonstration Project at ASAM’s Medical-Scientific Conference. There will be a day long pre-conference course on The ASAM Criteria prior to the start of the conference in early April, click here to learn more. Final findings and a full revision will be ready for the full U.S. launch to all programs in September 2014.