Rewards Module Simplifies Incentive Programs for Patients

Rewards Module Simplifies Incentive Programs for Patients

Rewards are among the most effective incentives for individuals in treatment and recovery for substance use disorder (SUD), but the difficulty in creating and managing these programs often prevents providers from implementing them. In a system already stressed by staffing shortages, providers want to use evidence-based solutions that work, but lack the resources to build and administer them on an individual basis. 

“The challenge is that the workforce is really strained,” Hans Morefield, CEO of CHESS Health, said.

CHESS Health helps providers overcome this barrier to contingency management with its innovative Rewards Module. This tool allows providers to automate and track rewards using a variety of customizable options and makes it simple for patients to use online through CHESS Health’s solutions. 

A Proven Approach

A number of clinical trials have revealed that contingency management is an effective and powerful tool in keeping people engaged in treatment and taking needed medication. Studies have proven, for example, that cocaine abstinence increased, stimulant use disorder was reduced, and medication compliance and treatment retention for individuals with alcohol use disorder improved when reward systems were in place. 

Other disorders that present unique challenges for treatment benefit from rewards, too. It can be difficult for providers to make successful inroads with patients who have disorders that have no proven effective medication treatment. Rewards can fill a real need in these situations when providers have fewer resources at their disposal to drive toward successful outcomes. 

Making this type of valuable tool available to providers was CHESS Health’s goal with the Rewards Module. With many customizable options, the module assists providers in connecting patients to the right rewards, delivered remotely, on a schedule that works for the individual or a group. Using technology to verify the behavior and administer the rewards makes this effective tool simple for providers to implement. 

Providers can design their own custom rewards program or work with CHESS Health to create the right options. Rewards are proven, powerful motivators in getting patients to take positive steps and keep repeating them long term to stay on the right path. Patients can receive rewards for everything from attendance at treatment to taking prevention surveys or assessments to negative drug tests. The rules, reward triggers, amounts, and budget are all built into the provider’s specifications. 

Automated System Reduces Staff and Provider Burden

Rewards are delivered via a reloadable VISA debit card or digital gift card on a customized schedule. Payments can be recurring or one-time and limited to per-patient and program maximums. While rewards might be a great option for some patients, others may not be the best candidates, so providers can choose whether or not to make rewards available universally to all or just to a subset of patients. 

Studies show that patients are motivated to earn financial rewards, but providers don’t want to have to deal with the security and other complex issues around having to manage the distribution of cash. Having the rewards available through a smartphone app is much easier and more secure for both the provider and the patient. 

Another important feature of the Rewards Module is that providers can track and offer required reports around the dollars to ensure that funders of the contingency management and program participation efforts can see clear evidence that the money went to patients for survey engagement or for taking positive steps in their recovery. Providers can track patient enrollment and analyze progress along the way. Access to this data, which can provide learnings and insights for future efforts and program modifications, is key for providers as well. 

Improving Patient Adherence

Concerns about “gamifying” positive rewards have prevented some providers from trying this innovative solution in the past, but more are adopting it as they realize that much of what they thought about reward programs and contingency management tools is more myth than fact. Contingency management has been identified as part of the Federal Government’s first-year drug policy, and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing endorsed the practice for SUD. 

And, when combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the use of rewards shows excellent results that begin early in therapy and continue through the end of treatment and into the future.