Delivering information about medication assisted treatment to individuals who misuse opioids through a mobile app: a pilot study

J Public Health (Oxf). 2020 Feb 28;42(1):149-154. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy207.


Background: Digital therapeutic tools (e.g. mobile applications) can be accessible, low-cost interventions that counter misconceptions about medication assisted treatment (MAT) and/or improve deficits in MAT knowledge that are common barriers to treatment entry among individuals with opioid dependence. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the preliminary effectiveness of a mobile application, 'uMAT-R', that includes health information about OUD recovery supported by science and MAT benefits.

Methods: Twenty-six adult participants with OUD recruited via social media completed all modules and pre/post-assessments within uMAT-R. McNemar's test was used to compare interest in treatment before and after completing the app, and paired t tests were used to compare MAT attitude scores before and after completing the modules within uMAT-R.

Results: Before viewing uMAT-R, 32% agreed/strongly agreed that they were interested in starting treatment to recover from opioid misuse, compared to 48% after completing uMAT-R. The average scores on the MAT attitudes scale and its Aid to Behavior Change subscale improved from before to after viewing uMAT-R. Among the participants, 88% felt that uMAT-R would be useful to consult when making decisions about recovery.

Conclusions: Our encouraging pilot findings support the use of uMAT-R to help address the current opioid epidemic.

Keywords: buprenorphine; methadone; opiate substitution treatment; opioid dependence; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural