Online Program

Patients' experiences with group visits for buprenorphine treatment

Monday, November 4, 2013

David Roll, MD, Internal Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Erin Bettendorf, Harvard Medical School, Boston
Hsiang Huang, MD, MPH, Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
BACKGROUND: Massachusetts ranks above the national average in deaths related to opioid overdoses with an age-adjusted death rate of 5.4 per 100,000. Outpatient based opioid addiction treatment using buprenorphine has been shown to be effective in primary care settings, however uptake in clinical practice has been limited due to numerous factors including lack of clinical support for primary care providers. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to examine views/experiences of patients treated in group visits for buprenorphine treatment in a primary care clinic that serves a safety-net population in Massachusetts. METHODS: As part of a quality improvement project, we conducted a survey interview with 28 of 31 possible participants with opioid dependence treated in the buprenorphine group visit program. RESULTS: Patients endorsed learning new skills to deal with their addiction and physical health problems, benefits of receiving treatment at their primary care physician's office, and value of the expertise of a trained addictions nurse. Over 88% reported liking the group visits “a little” or “a lot.” The leading reasons patients like the groups were: “group support” (82%), “learning things from other people that help me” (82%) and “others in the group have a positive influence on my sobriety” (75%). Dissatisfaction with the groups stemmed from concerns about privacy (25%). CONCLUSION: Group visits for buprenorphine treatment was highly acceptable by patients. Modifiable factors for improving the program are also identified.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the acceptability of and barriers to receiving buprenorphine treatment through group visits in the primary care clinic.

Keyword(s): Substance Abuse Treatment, Primary Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a psychiatric consultant with an interest in behavioral health integration in primary care settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.