Integrating mobile phone technologies in addiction treatment is of increasing importance and may optimize patient engagement with their care and enhance the delivery of existing treatment strategies. Few studies have evaluated mobile phone and text message (TM) use patterns in persons enrolled in addiction treatment, and none have assessed the use in safety net, office-based buprenorphine practices.
A 28-item, quantitative and qualitative semistructured survey was administered to opiate-dependent adults in an urban, publicly funded, office-based buprenorphine program. Survey domains included demographic characteristics, mobile phone and TM use patterns, and preferences pertaining to their recovery.
Surveyors approached 73 of the 155 eligible subjects (47%); 71 respondents completed the survey. Nearly all participants reported mobile phone ownership (93%) and TM use (93%), and most reported “very much” or “somewhat” comfort sending TM (79%). Text message contact with 12-step group sponsors, friends, family members, and counselors was also described (32%). Nearly all preferred having their providers' mobile phone number (94%), and alerting the clinic via TM in the event of a potential relapse to receive both supportive TM and a phone call from their buprenorphine provider was also well received (62%).
Mobile phone and TM use patterns and preferences among this sample of office-based buprenorphine participants highlight the potential of adopting patient-centered mobile phone–based interventions in this treatment setting.