The West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy is pleased to extend this invitation to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers, of all types, to participate in the Connections for Recovery initiative. The initiative entails the roll-out of Connections, an evidence-based smartphone app, to support the treatment and recovery of West Virginians with SUD. The app is a component of the eRecovery solution from CHESS Health (see explainer video). The initiative also has an important role for West Virginia treatment providers; your participation in and encouragement of the Connections App will enhance your patient relationships, strengthen their recovery, and increase their treatment adherence.
A provider organization’s participation in the Connections for Recovery initiative can be as little as simply introducing the app to its patients and setting them up (as little as 30-60 seconds of effort, per patient); CHESS terms this ‘passive’ participation. Alternatively, there is an ‘active’ participation option too. After setting up patients with the Connections app, staff can then use the provider-facing components of eRecovery to:
These activities can be performed by one or more of your staff, such as counselors or peer recovery support specialists. In fact, if your staff includes these peer specialists, then we strongly recommend their use of the platform to engage with their assigned patients, to supplement their current patient support work.
While all of this is beneficial to patients and providers under normal circumstances, the current COVID-19 crisis makes this remote support for patients, especially the peer-to-peer support and the option for a digital patient-provider connection, all the more important. For this reason, the State of West Virginia is making this app and the eRecovery solution available to individuals and providers across the state, at no cost.
The rest of this webpage provides an explanation of the Connections app and eRecovery solution, explains how providers can learn more details and get a demo, how providers enroll and get trained, and has answers to FAQs, for more information.
Rachel M. Thaxton
WV Department of Health and Human Resources
Office of Drug Control Policy
The Connections App from CHESS Health is an engaging, evidence-based solution proven to improve treatment and long-term recovery outcomes for individuals with substance use disorder. The app combines the work of two renowned experts in digital SUD treatment, David Gustafson, PhD., of the University of Wisconsin (ACHESS), and Kathleen Carroll, PhD., of Yale (CBT4CBT) and into one app. The key functions of the Connections app are:
The Connections App is a component of the eRecovery solution, which includes provider-facing functionality as well. Provider staff, including counselors and peer recovery support specialists have the option of either using the web-based CHESS Dashboard and/or the CHESS Companion App for engaging with their patient, which may include secure messaging, reviewing daily and weekly survey data from the patient, sending appointment and medication reminders, tracking CBT completion, and more. In the late summer of 2020, providers will also be able to conduct video chats, individual or group, using the new telehealth features within eRecovery and the Connections App.
The Connections App is best introduced to patients as soon as possible in their treatment for SUD in order to help the individual benefit from new, supportive connections with peers, maintain their motivation for and confidence in recovery, and to provide structured data to their clinician to make counseling more effective. In recent implementations in outpatient environments, use of the Connections App was correlated with a 51% reduction in early drop-out rates and 20-30% increases in treatment completion rates. Additional evidence from randomized clinical studies of conducted by Drs. Carroll and Gustafson are available at www.chess.health/evidence.
To watch a CHESS customer and their patients discuss their experience with the Connections App, watch this video from Boston TV.
To learn more about the Connections for Recovery initiative, schedule a webinar with CHESS and the Office for Drug Control Policy (ODCP) to learn about the app, hear the options for provider participation, review the benefits, see a short demo, discuss the training plan, and ask any questions. Webinars will last 30 minutes.
To schedule a webinar, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, organization, and your upcoming availability.
In addition, if you have additional questions about the initiative, feel free to contact CHESS at email@example.com.
Once your organization has decided to participate, the process is as follows:
Please contact Jenny Lancaster at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need technical assistance with Help & Hope WV website.
The Connections App is an evidence-based mobile application from CHESS Health designed and proven to provide ongoing support and relapse prevention to people recovering from substance use disorders. Features of the Connections App include:
It’s very easy. There are three options – the simplest is the provider tells the patient about the app, perhaps shows them the Explainer Video (which is also viewable within the CHESS Dashboard), and then enters seven or eight data fields into a secure, online form within the CHESS Dashboard – fields such as: Patient Name, Gender, Date of Birth, Mobile Number, Primary Staff, and Payer. This triggers a real-time text message to the patient with a link to download the Connections App and a temporary password. That’s it. Maybe 30 seconds.
Yes, that’s a very important feature of eRecovery and the Connections App. Your patients will download and use the Connections App; your staff will have the option of using the web-based CHESS Dashboard or CHESS’ Companion App, through which you can message them 1:1, lead/moderate your own discussion group, view their recovery progress (from survey answers), send them appointments, and more.
No, there’s no limit.
During the first month of the project, CHESS will offer West Virginia providers webinar-based training sessions on the CHESS Dashboard and the Companion App on a daily basis and can schedule other times as necessary. See this website or email email@example.com for schedule information or to request another time. Depending on demand, the frequency of open training session may adjust in the future. Training sessions are typically no more than 30 minutes. Training guides and reference materials will also be offered.
When an organization sets up a client/patient to use the app, they typically enter their name so that the organization can know who they’re engaging with through the app (organization staff are linked to the client/patient), but only the organization/provider knows the patient’s identity. The first time the patient accesses the app they will be promoted to give themselves an alias name, which will shield their identity when they participate in online discussions with other individuals (peers) in the app.
CHESS Health has been delivering its technology solutions for behavioral health for five years and utilizes industry best practices with respect to data security and operational controls. All data is encrypted using 256bit AES encryption in-transit and at rest. Complex passwords, role-based security, and segregated databases control access to patient data. Intrusion detection and virus protection protect the networks used by CHESS employees and the solution databases hosted at Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services has the industry’s most advanced physical controls protecting their data centers. CHESS Health meets or exceeds all the requirements of HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2 regulations.
No. As stated in CHESS’s terms and conditions, CHESS may not sell or re-purpose Customer’s/Provider’s Protected Health Information (PHI). CHESS may only use de-identified data for usage analytics.
Yes, eRecovery is a great solution for peer recovery support specialists to use to engage with clients/patients who are using the Connections App, especially the secure messaging features. Similarly, eRecovery is great for counselors to follow and engage with their clients/patients – counselors appreciate seeing recovery progress data in the dashboard/companion app from their client’s/patient’s responses to weekly surveys.
Yes, peer recovery support specialists and counselors can be linked only to their clients/patients and blocked from seeing data on other patients at the same provider organization.
To setup clients/patients, you will need to utilize a Chrome, Edge 2020, or Firefox browser. Internet Explorer is not compatible with the CHESS Dashboard.
The HIPAA regulations require that if an organization is serving clients/patients related to their healthcare and this organization uses another company which will be storing its client/patient data (CHESS Health in this case), then the organization and the business partner need to have a business associates agreement (BAA) in-place. CHESS’ version is a standard one. Alternatively, CHESS is also open to using your organization’s standard BAA.
The Connections App is the commercial version of the ACHESS app developed and clinically-validated by Dave Gustafson, PhD., of the University of Wisconsin. The eTherapy program is the commercial version of CBT4CBT, developed and clinically-validated by Kathleen Carroll, PhD., of Yale University. To read the published articles, go to www.chess.health/evidence.
Yes. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a private demo or discussion of the CHESS Health platform, if you’d rather not discuss or learn about the solution with other West Virginia providers.
No, not at this time. eIntervention is CHESS’ solution for getting individuals to treatment, facilitating care transitions, connecting individuals with community services, and supporting family members and caregivers. eIntervention is not currently in-scope for the CHESS-West Virginia implementation.