Using a health information technology survey to explore the availability of addiction treatment data in the electronic health records: A National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network study.

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BACKGROUND:Healthcare data from electronic health records (EHRs) and related health information technology (IT) tools are critical data sources for pragmatic clinical trials and observational studies aimed at producing real-world evidence. To unlock the full potential of such data to advance science, the data must be complete and in structured formats to facilitate research use. METHODS:A Health IT survey was conducted within the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) to explore information related to data completeness and presence of unstructured data (e.g., clinical notes, free text) for conducting the EHR-based research for substance use disorders (SUDs). The analysis was based on 36 participants from 36 facilities located in 14 states and affiliated with the CTN. RESULTS:The mean age of the participants (n = 34) was 48.0 years (SD = 9.8). Of the participants enrolled, 50.0% were female and 82.4% were white. Participants' facilities were from four census-defined regions (South 35.3%, Northeast 29.4%, West 20.6%, Midwest 11.8%, Missing 2.9%) and represented diverse settings. The EHR was used by all surveyed facilities including 17 different kinds of EHR platforms or vendors, and 17.6% (n = 6) of surveyed facilities also used a separate EHR for behavioral health care (e.g., SUD care). Paper records were also used by 76.5% of surveyed facilities for clinical care (e.g., for health risk appraisal questionnaires, substance use screening or assessment, check-in screening, substance use specific intervention/treatment or referral, or labs/testing). The prevalence of using a patient portal, practice management system, and mHealth for patient care was 76.5%, 50.0%, and 29.4%, respectively. CONCLUSION:While results are descriptive in nature, they reveal the heterogeneity in the existing EHRs and frequent use of paper records to document patient care tasks, especially for SUD care. The use of a separate EHR for behavioral healthcare also suggests the challenge of obtaining complete EHR data to support research for SUDs. Much EHR development, integration, and standardization needs to be done especially in regard to SUD treatment to facilitate research across disparate healthcare systems.





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Wu, Li-Tzy, Elizabeth H Payne, Kimberly Roseman, Ashley Case, Casey Nelson and Robert Lindblad (2020). Using a health information technology survey to explore the availability of addiction treatment data in the electronic health records: A National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network study. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 112S. pp. 56–62. 10.1016/j.jsat.2020.01.015 Retrieved from

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Li-Tzy Wu

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Education/Training: Pre- and post-doctoral training in mental health service research, psychiatric epidemiology (NIMH T32), and addiction epidemiology (NIDA T32) from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (Maryland); Fellow of the NIH Summer Institute on the Design and Conduct of Randomized Clinical Trials.

Director: Duke Community Based Substance Use Disorder Research Program.

Research interests: COVID-19, Opioid misuse, Opioid overdose, Opioid use disorder, Opioid addiction prevention and treatment, Pain and addiction, Chronic diseases and substance use disorders, diabetes, pharmacy-based care models and services, medication treatment for opioid use disorder (MOUD), Drug overdose, Polysubstance use and disorders, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens, stimulants, e-cigarette, SBIRT (substance use Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment), EHR-based research and intervention, data science, psychometric analysis (IRT), epidemiology of addictions and comorbidity, behavioral health care integration, health services research (mental health disorders, substance use disorders, chronic diseases), nosology, research design, HIV risk behavior. 

FUNDED Research projects (Principal Investigator [PI], Site PI, or Sub-award PI): 
R03: Substance use/dependence (PI).
R21: Treatment use for alcohol use disorders (PI).
R21: Inhalant use & disorders (PI).
R01: MDMA/hallucinogen use/disorders (PI).
R01: Prescription pain reliever (opioids) misuse and use disorders (PI).
R01: Substance use disorders in adolescents (PI).
R21: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R33: CTN Substance use diagnoses & treatment (PI).
R01: Evolution of Psychopathology in the Population (ECA Duke site PI).
R01: Substance use disorders and treatment use among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (PI).
UG1: SBIRT in Primary Care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: TAPS Tool, Substance use screening tool validation in primary care (NIDA, PI).
UG1: NIDA CTN Mid-Southern Node (Clinical Trials Network, PI).
UG1: EHR Data Element Study (NIDA, PI).
UG1: Buprenorphine Physician-Pharmacist Collaboration in the Management of Patients With Opioid Use Disorder (NIDA, PI).
PCORI: INSPIRE-Integrated Health Services to Reduce Opioid Use While Managing Chronic Pain (Site PI).
CDC R01: Evaluation of state-mandated acute and post-surgical pain-specific CDC opioid prescribing (Site PI).
Pilot: Measuring Opioid Use Disorders in Secondary Electronic Health Records Data (Carolinas Collaborative Grant: Duke PI).
R21: Developing a prevention model of alcohol use disorder for Pacific Islander young adults (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Trial (NIH HEAL Initiative) (NIDA supplement, CTN-0101, Investigator).
NIDA: A Pilot Study to Permit Opioid Treatment Program Physicians to Prescribe Methadone through Community Pharmacies for their Stable Methadone Patients (NIDA/FRI: Study PI).
UG1: Integrating pharmacy-based prevention and treatment of opioid and other substance use disorders: A survey of pharmacists and stakeholder (NIH HEAL Initiative, NIDA, PI).
UG1: NorthStar Node of the Clinical Trials Network (NIDA, Site PI).
R34: Intervention Development and Pilot Study to Reduce Untreated Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Opioid Use Disorders (Subaward PI, Investigator).
UG1: Optimal Policies to Improve Methadone Maintenance Adherence Longterm (OPTIMMAL Study) (NIDA, Site PI).
R01: Increasing access to opioid use disorder treatment by opening pharmacy-based medication units of opioid treatment programs (NIDA, PI)

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