People who are more actively involved in their healthcare tend to be healthier overall. They are able to take more preventive measures as well as act quickly when some form of medical attention is needed. Health insurers have known this for a long time, which is why they often try to incentivize people to use patient portals and engage more with providers.
This same principle was recently applied to people with substance use disorders. A new study that was published in JAMA Psychiatry featured results from researchers at Kaiser Permanente. Over 500 alcohol and drug treatment patients in California were included in the study, and they found that by getting them to be more involved in their overall healthcare they were also improving recovery rates.
In fact, the test group who went through the Kaiser LINKAGE program consisting of 6 sessions designed to get patients more involved showed very noticeable benefits. Through the patient education and prevention programs that empowered them to take more control of their overall health, they were not only able to demonstrate reduced drug and alcohol usage, but also increase the number of days they received treatment.
“Patients with alcohol and other drug use disorders have high rates of medical and psychiatric conditions requiring complex treatment, but often rely on emergency services and seldom use preventive services, even when they have health insurance,” said lead author Constance M. Weisner, DrPH, chief of Behavioral Health and Aging at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, and a professor at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry.
The bottom line is that recovery takes work, and it certainly isn’t confined to just inside the rehab facility. People who are very active in their recovery efforts during and after treatment and are also able to better manage other areas of their health are much more likely to show significant improvement. These can include a very wide variety of activities, which often starts with a proper discharge plan and recommendation for some form of continuing services. All areas of life should be included in the plan so that there can be sustained improvement in health and quality of life