Supporting citizens in addiction treatment

Center for Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Copenhagen (CRK) offers treatment to citizens who have a drug and/or alcohol addiction. Many of the citizens affiliated with CRK are in a difficult life situation and find it difficult to get an overview of their own treatment course. It is a challenge for them to keep appointments, which can mean that attendance at the treatment that should keep them from the abuse and the hard life is missed.

For a year, Rusmiddelbehandling Ørnevej, which is part of CRK, has been testing Emento with the aim of making information easily accessible to the users of the center, improving communication between staff and users, and getting more users to show up for their appointments.

The right knowledge at the right time

The substance abuse treatment Ørnevej offers immediate treatment for citizens with addiction, which means that the citizen already the day after the first contact with Ørnevej has the opportunity to attend an intake and medical interview. The citizen must attend the interview in an abstinent state and therefore often has difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. At the interview, a member of staff at the center gives the patient a range of information about the upcoming course of treatment. As a result of the patient's abstinent state, he or she often has difficulty absorbing and remembering the information given. Referring to information in e-Boks and the municipality's website does not support the citizen enough either.

With the Emento app, the citizen has the right knowledge available via their smartphone and can easily find information about the center's opening hours, read about offers from the center and be reminded when to pick up and take medication. With the app, the center is always at their fingertips and citizens can even contact the staff via the messaging function.

They can also watch short videos where a member of staff talks about a topic or the treatment process. In this way, citizens often feel better prepared and therefore more confident. The staff can monitor whether the citizen reads the information and watches the films provided in the app, which provides knowledge about whether there are any areas that they need to pay special attention to inform about at the next meeting.  

Fewer no-shows, more stability

The substance abuse treatment Ørnevej experiences that many citizens do not show up for their appointments. This means that the staff often spend a long time calling the citizens to make a new appointment. If a citizen in treatment fails to show up for three days, the citizen has to start their treatment all over again and then escalate to the right dose of medication again. This process is difficult for many people, and some choose to self-prescribe and obtain medication illegally on the street.

Via the app, the citizen is reminded of appointments and via the messaging function, the citizen can write to the center if they want to cancel an appointment. The center can thus intervene more quickly and help the citizen with a new appointment. Anne Kirstine Svanholt, unit manager at Ørnevej, explains:

"For example, you can write to us if you want to cancel an appointment, and that way we can get in touch immediately and ask about the reason, so we can avoid it".

Anne Kirstine Svanholt also explains that some of the users find it difficult to talk about their problems when they are face-to-face with a member of staff, while it is easier for them to talk about difficult things when they can communicate via the messaging function in the app.

"The app particularly opens up a dialog with those who can't manage to come to the center or talk on the phone".

Peace of mind

The app not only makes it easier to communicate, it also gives users a different kind of security. Anne Kirstine Svanholt says that users say that the app allows them to get closer to the staff in a different way than before. The digital communication allows users to send smileys or write "hugs", which also gives the staff a completely different kind of feedback. She elaborates:

"It helps to create stability in the treatments, and in this way it also has an effect on no-shows".

By being able to communicate through the app, the centers hope to retain their citizens even more through open dialogue and daily notifications. The positive experiences and success of the Ørnevej drug and alcohol treatment center in testing Emento means that the app is now being used in six other drug and alcohol treatment centers at CRK.

Allan Juhl
Allan Juhl

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