Interactive Simulation to Train Prescription Drug Abuse Screening

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43DA026229-01
Agency Tracking Number: DA026229
Amount: $99,954.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2009-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 128822736
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (443) 283-2504
Business Contact
Phone: (443) 283-2555
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern for several reasons. The facility of attaining multiple prescriptions and getting early refills poses a number of health risks for patients who use prescription drugs. Since multiple prescriptions or early refills are not closely monitored, it is sometimes up to the primary care physician to properly screen for signs of potential prescription drug abuse and addiction. Clinicians in primary care settings should be equipped with the knowledge to recognize the signs of potential abuse, as well as the steps necessary to address patients who are deemed to be addicted to or abusing prescription drugs. The interaction can be difficult, since many patients are either unaware or evasive about their addiction or abuse. Providing simulation training to help prepare clinicians to better screen patients for potential prescription drug abuse would be very effective. For the Phase I application, SIMmersion LLC, in cooperation with Dr. Michael Fleming of the University of Wisconsin, proposes to develop a prototype interactive simulation to train prescription drug abuse screening skills for clinicians in primary care settings. The proposed training simulation will allow physicians and other primary healthcare practitioners to practice screening, intervention, and referral skills with a virtual patient to identify potential prescription drug abuse and provide appropriate intervention when necessary. The ideal outcome would for be for clinicians to become more proficient and comfortable with these skills and therefore more likely to use them as a routine part of their practice with all patients, thereby minimizing the effects of prescription drug abuse through early identification and intervention. An expert panel composed of clinicians will assist in the development and review of the prototype simulation. Once completed, the panel will evaluate the simulation on a variety of measures to determine its feasibility for use in the field. If feasibility is successfully established during Phase I for prescription drug abuse screening, the prototype will be expanded in Phase II to include brief intervention for patients who screen positively for prescription drug abuse or show risk signs associated with potential prescription drug misuse and/or abuse. The simulation is expected to be a useful tool for new clinicians seeking to acquire prescription drug abuse screening and brief intervention skills and experienced clinicians seeking to refresh or refine existing skills. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Innovative and economical technologies that assist primary care clinicians in acquiring competence in screening patients for prescription drug abuse could help increase the frequency and efficacy of screening for potential abuse. Screening patients for prescription drug abuse in primary care settings may help identify abuse sooner and lead to life-changing interventions which could reduce the negative impact of prescription and other drug abuse and addiction.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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