2013 Addiction Treatment Technology Summit:
A Forum for Telehealth Pioneers

Minneapolis, Minnesota - September 19-20, 2013

Dear Telehealth Pioneers,
 
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend the NFAR Summit in Minneapolis. I would especially like to express my gratitude for all your work during the Summit. Due to your efforts,
the strategic planning activities have provided us with a road map that will guide our activities for the next four years. A short briefing statement follows that includes a summary of our activities during the Summit. A formal proceedings document will be created and distributed to our Telehealth Pioneers by the end of the year. In addition, Mike Wilhelm will be working on our video vignettes and our thanks to those who agreed to be filmed. Please look for those videos to be edited and posted on our website.
 
Again, let me thank this group of early adopters for your hard work that produced excellent recommendations for NFAR activities. You are helping us move in the right direction so we can be the key resource and national expert in utilizing telehealth technologies in the delivery of addiction treatment services. It is great to have 46 new stakeholders with such a wealth of expertise and experience.
 
With Appreciation,
 
Nancy A. Roget 
Executive Director Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies
PI/Project Director
 

 
2013 Addiction Treatment Technology Summit: A Forum for Telehealth Pioneers
Short Briefing Statement
 
Forty-six individuals representing 25 states attended the NFAR Summit that was held in Minneapolis, MN. Among the attendees were Wilson Washington from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and Dr. Chris Fore from the Indian Health Services (IHS). This group was brought together for the purpose of sharing their experiences with implementing telehealth services in addiction treatment settings and engaging in strategic planning for NFAR.
 
Attendees were asked to provide insight by sharing their telehealth pioneer stories related to: factors prompting their agencies to provide service using telehealth technologies; resources needed to provide such services; effective strategies used to increase buy-in for telehealth technologies; leadership skills needed for successful implementation of telehealth services; challenges faced and solutions discovered; and changes made to agency policies based on the use of telehealth technologies. Key themes that emerged were:
  • having a champion is vital
  • it is necessary to obtain buy-in from both counselors and clients
  • getting continuous feedback at all levels is important
  • providing telehealth services decreases costs and improves client outcomes
 
Attendees then reviewed NFAR’s Telehealth Capacity Assessment Tool (TCAT) and provided useful feedback to improve the tool by: addressing its exactness; providing recommendations to agencies following the use of the tool; weighting domain scores; use of the tool online; and scoring of questions.
 
Next, the facilitators engaged attendees in mapping the context providing addiction treatment services utilizing telehealth technologies. The process included identifying NFAR’s target audience and brainstorming on political, technological, and economic factors, customer needs, uncertainties, threats, and current trends that influence telehealth implementation. Some of the key issues identified included:
  • reimbursement for telehealth services
  • grant funding for implementing telehealth technologies
  • sustainability
  • licensure/certification
 
On day two of the Summit, attendees discussed ways NFAR can distinguish itself from other telehealth technical assistance providers; how NFAR can keep up with the changing healthcare environment; who NFAR should partner with; ways to increase NFAR’s visibility; a sequence by which NFAR should provide products; and outcomes on which to measure NFAR’s activities. Recurring themes in the discussion were:
  • providing a clearinghouse
  • workforce development-training activities
  • branding
  • collaboration
  • synthesizing telehealth research and HIPAA compliant technologies
 
To summarize the discussion that had taken place throughout the Summit, attendees were asked to identify next steps for NFAR. Suggestions reinforced the ideas of promoting the use of telehealth technologies and being a source for information on telehealth. Attendees suggested that NFAR create toolboxes on various telehealth topics and provide a databank of resources.
 
Finally, attendees expressed an eagerness to continue the connections made through their interaction at the Summit and asked NFAR to facilitate the opportunity for them to keep in contact. Suggestions for how this might be done included an online “unconference,” a Summit listserv, and a Summit Facebook group. The NFAR Facebook page has been created and is located at: NFAR ATTC Facebook.
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