Assessing the effectiveness of an Internet-based videoconferencing platform for delivering intensified substance abuse counseling

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009 Apr;36(3):331-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2008.06.011. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Enhanced schedules of counseling can improve response to routine opioid-agonist treatment, although it is associated with increased time demands that enhance patient resistance and nonadherence. Internet-based counseling can reduce these concerns by allowing patients to participate from home. This study assesses treatment satisfaction and response to Internet-based (CRC Health Group's e-Getgoing) group counseling for partial responders to methadone maintenance treatment. Patients testing positive for an illicit substance (n = 37) were randomly assigned to e-Getgoing or onsite group counseling and followed for 6 weeks. Patients in both conditions responded favorably to intensified treatment by achieving at least 2 consecutive weeks of abstinence and 100% attendance to return to less-intensive care (e-Getgoing: 70% vs. routine: 71%, ns). Treatment satisfaction was good and comparable across conditions. E-Getgoing patients expressed a preference for the Internet-based service, reporting convenience and increased confidentiality as major reasons. Integrating Internet-based group counseling with on-site treatment services could help expand the continuum of care in methadone maintenance clinics.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Videoconferencing*