NIH – Mobile Technologies Extending Reach of Primary Care for Substance-Use-Disorders (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Optional)

January 16, 2019 by


NIDA seeks development and testing of a prototype mobile/tablet technology-based application to extend the reach of primary care services to patients at risk for developing SUD, with deliverables specified below. Recent healthcare reform laws provide unprecedented opportunities for expanded health insurance coverage and increased funding for SUD treatment services in primary care settings.

In 2014, payers of health plans started to cover early intervention and treatment for the full spectrum of SUD, as needed, similar to other medical procedures. More recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released, ” Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2019; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; Quality Payment Program; and Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program” The major proposed rule addresses changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) and other Medicare Part B payment policies to ensure that payment systems are updated to reflect changes in medical practice and the relative value of services, as well as changes in the statute. Within the document, CMS discusses the expansion of Medicare payment for virtual consultations, for clinicians to evaluate photos or videos that patients send in, and other types of patient-generated information, such as information from heart rate monitors or other devices that collect patient health marker data. These services could potentially be reported with CPT codes the describe remote patient monitoring.

However, the capacity to offer such services in primary care is limited due to a severe workforce shortage in well-trained SUD treatment professionals. Also, there are insufficient applications to aid PCPs in ensuring patients engage in necessary self-management skills for linkage to and engagement in needed follow-up treatment. Furthermore, PCPs typically have limited success in leveraging mobile applications to sustain temporary patient health-promotion behavioral changes initiated in primary care interventions. Moreover, mobile applications have rarely been employed to improve care coordination and integration of primary care with SUD treatment in medical settings.

There is large market opportunity and commercialization potential for developing such a mobile application. The proposed mobile-health application would help patients who need SUD treatment services but have limited availability and reach of primary care providers to follow-up on action plans established during initial primary-care interventions.

Filed Under: Funding Opportunities