A Smartphone Application for Alcoholism Recovery

The focus of this research was to assess if a smartphone-based application could provide effective continuing care to aid in reducing heavy drinking days for patients with alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) who are leaving residential treatment.

The study was an unblinded randomized trial with 349 patients who met the criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence when they entered treatment at 3 residential programs operated by one nonprofit organization in the Midwest, and 2 programs operated by one nonprofit organization in the Northeast of the United States.

The Institutional Review Board at the University of Wisconsin – Madison approved the study and registered it at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01003119). The research was published in JAMA Psychiatry, Volume 71(5) in May 2014.

Smartphone applications had a significant effect on patients. Not only did the A-CHESS patient group report fewer heavier drinking days; a greater percentage of A-CHESS than control group patients reported abstinence in the previous 30 days, with significant differences at months 8 and 12. 

Key Results.

  • 12% better in reported abstinence after 4-,8-, and 12 months compared to the control group
  • 31%-50% better results than those from other post-treatment web-based programs

*In this study, the mention of A-CHESS refers to the original name for what is now called the Connections app, which is part of CHESS Health’s eRecovery solution.