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Joining Forces to Manage Substance Use Disorder

Developing a WhatsApp-based Chatbot for Improved Patient Care
George Mason University (GMU) and the REAN Foundation have partnered to use a WhatsApp-based mobile platform for patient self-management focused on individuals recovering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Through our combined efforts, we will develop an innovative technology platform incorporating a patient-centered chatbot.
In Virginia, opioid overdoses have surged by 80% since 2019.
SUD individuals released from incarceration 129 times more likely to overdose
Our program team brings extensive experience and successful community collaborations to the project. Their expertise in multidisciplinary implementation programs, particularly in treating vulnerable populations, ensures connections to individuals in need and community resources for project success. Under the leadership of Sri Vasireddy, the REAN Foundation demonstrates unwavering commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility, especially in remote areas and for individuals facing barriers to traditional medical institutions.
Drs. Rebecca and Caroline Sutter
Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinic

George Mason University's Mason and Partners (MAP) interprofessional clinics serve the uninsured and refugee community located in low income and medically underserved areas in Northern Virginia, with a bridge-care model providing health care, and mental health services for vulnerable populations located in low income and medically underserved areas. The clinics provide services to high risk individuals suffering from substance use disorder and work in partnership with local agencies.

GMU is also working closely with AmeriCorps to strengthen health connections and improve care communication, care coordination, triage, and patient surveillance across two communities in Northern Virginia. This community-based training program is critical to building the public health workforce and serving underserved communities to support people in their health and wellness journeys. The program also will help address pandemic-driven public health needs, including mental health.

Challenges Faced By Individuals of Marginalized Communities with SUD

Limited or no access to support network and healthcare professionals
Poor education background restricts understanding and impacts adherence
Housing instability and increases health risks and affects mental health
Low economic resources restrict access to nutritious food
Discord within families disrupts crucial support during care journey

Innovative Solution

Our solution will deploy a patient-centered chatbot based on Whatsapp. It will provide an easy and continuous support mechanism to guide patients through various phases of their care plan. The platform would enable them to access educational information, track adherence, continuous check-ins about their status and interact about their questions and queries. The innovative technology platform will support the field-based organization helping to improve the acceptability, adoption and impact of the program.
The platform will allow users to:
Access educational resources
Track medication adherence
Engage in regular check-ins to monitor vitals
Obtain answers to questions and concerns
Receive alerts for in-clinic visits