How Addiction Treatment Providers Are Using Technology to Improve Outcomes and Reach New Patients
Every day we read about new apps or technologies that aim to improve our health, productivity, or careers. These advances in technology are seen everywhere, including ways to engage alumni. As a provider, vendor, or someone in recovery you know the importance of a strong alumni group. An active alumni group helps to improve and track outcomes, helps others in need of recovery, and builds brand awareness.
In this 3 part series we’ll be discussing how technology is changing the way addiction recovery centers engage alumni, track compliance, and increase referrals.
Having a clear communication strategy is critical in reaching and engaging with your alumni. Your strategy may leverage several channels to reach your alumni. This multi-channel approach helps you to reach your alumni where they are and where they’re comfortable communicating with you.
Email Newsletters: Collecting email addresses and using email marketing tools like Constant Contact, Emma, or MailChimp is a way to provide mass updates to your alumni. These platforms allow you to update alumni around upcoming events or relevant news. Analytics are built into these tools which help you to understand who’s engaging with your content and what messaging is resonating with them. Advance options like A/B testing allows you to test different messaging to boost conversions. This type of communication is primarily one-way, which prevents you from having a real-time conversation with your alumni.
Online Communities: Alumni teams know that their alumni are self-organizing groups on platforms like Facebook, GroupMe, or SMS. These platforms allow alumni to form groups for peer support, using real-time communication. While these platforms provide a free and easy option for communication there are a few drawbacks. The biggest concern with Facebook is the lack of privacy. Even in a private or secret group, other group members can see detailed information about those in the group. Facebook’s privacy settings can be confusing, which could result in unwanted exposure for someone in recovery.
The missed opportunity for these platforms is the way for the provider to participate in the conversation. While some providers have alumni team members participate in Facebook groups, this isn’t a HIPAA compliant platform. An alternative are platforms like SoberGrid and CaredFor. SoberGrid offers an app for peer support around recovery. Within the app, alumni can post messages and in some cases join the alumni group of their facility.
The CaredFor platform is branded as the provider, so your alumni are interacting with your brand. Within the CaredFor platform, alumni teams can invite alumni members to participate in a closed, invite-only group. The group works like a Facebook group, with posts, comments, reactions, and notifications. The provider is able to participate in the discussion as a moderator. These moderators can lead discussions and create calls-to-action, like registration forms for an upcoming alumni event. In addition to closed alumni groups, the provider can create a closed group for family members supporting alumni. This idea of peer support extends to families as well. With CaredFor, providers can create private online communities for alumni and their families which helps to improve outcomes, help those in need through education, and increase referrals.
When choosing technologies to connect with your alumni ask yourself the following:
What is the goal of the platform; communication, improved outcomes, or referrals?
Does this platform promote my brand or the vendor’s brand?
As the facility, how can I participate in the discussion with polls, discussions, and calls-to-action?
Is the platform HIPAA compliant?
In our next article, we’ll be exploring the explosion of compliance apps. We’ll review a few of these providers and discuss how they fit into your overall alumni engagement strategy.