Oklahoma Study Shows Positive Outcomes with Outpatient App

In 2021, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) partnered with CHESS Health to deploy prevention, outreach, and recovery support resources to providers across the state. In 2022, ODHMSAS’s Director David Wright conducted a study that concluded that outpatient participants using CHESS Health’s Connections smartphone app experienced better treatment outcomes. When compared to a control group that did not use the app, individuals engaged with the Connections app were 5% less likely to return from outpatient care to higher-level treatment. App users also completed outpatient treatment at a greater rate — 44% for those using the app compared to 25% for the control group. 

Individuals in outpatient treatment for substance use disorder are at high risk for failing to maintain their sobriety and following through on the recommended course, often requiring a future return to detox, residential, or inpatient care (all Level III episodes). The analysis found that 21% of the control group, which did not use the app, had an episode that required a return to Level III care versus 16% of participants who did use the Connections app.

The Connections app is part of CHESS Health’s eRecovery solution. It offers virtual evidence-based interventions, including digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a 24/7 supportive peer community to reduce isolation and reinforce recovery skills, and features to increase treatment and recovery plan adherence. ODMHSAS adopted the app in 2015 to support the recovery of individuals with SUD in a prison diversion program; it expanded to reach more Oklahomans in 2020 and 2021. 

Key Results.

  • 5% less likely to return to higher-level treatment
  • 19% higher rate of outpatient treatment completion

Control group members were enrolled to access the Connections app but never used it. Both the app users and non-app users received behavioral health treatment during the review period, January 2020 to November 2021. With both groups, the Connections app was introduced to individuals at the beginning, or early in the course, of outpatient treatment. All participants were either uninsured or had Medicaid coverage. 

Read the complete research report by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to learn more about the methodology, participant demographics, and positive outcomes.