A randomized trial of Web-based videoconferencing for substance abuse counseling

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2014 Jan;46(1):36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.009. Epub 2013 Sep 12.


Web-based videoconferencing can improve access to substance abuse treatment by allowing patients to receive counseling services in their homes. This randomized clinical trial evaluates the feasibility and acceptability of Web-based videoconferencing in community opioid treatment program (OTP) participants. Participants that reported computer and Internet access (n=85) were randomly assigned to receive 12weeks of weekly individual counseling in-person or via eGetgoing, a Web-based videoconferencing platform. Fifty-nine of these participants completed the study (eGetgoing=24; in-person=35), with most study withdrawal occurring among eGetgoing participants. Participants exposed to the study conditions had similar rates of counseling attendance and drug-positive urinalysis results, and reported similar and strong ratings of treatment satisfaction and therapeutic alliance. These results support the feasibility and acceptability of Web-based counseling as a good method to extend access to individual substance abuse counseling when compared to in-person counseling for patients that are able to maintain a computer and Internet connection for reliable communication.

Keywords: Methadone maintenance; Substance abuse treatment; Therapeutic alliance; Treatment satisfaction; Web-based videoconferencing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Videoconferencing*