Research shows that the best approach to reducing substance use involves routine screening, short discussions with clinicians, and offering people tailored resources to help them. Unfortunately, primary care providers often do not screen or provide evidence-based interventions to their patients because they report not having enough confidence or awareness about their use, or they are balancing a number of competing priorities. But digital solutions have the potential to enable screening that is initiated by patients to help overcome some of these barriers in a way that is more efficient and effective.
Our proposed project will test the effectiveness of digital patient-initiated screening at the WCH Family Practice, building on work done in the first iteration of Screen While you Wait (SWYW). Patients will be emailed a secure link to a survey with question assessing their substance use and other important contextual factors. Results will later be summarized in their chart and an automatic notification will be sent to their doctor when it’s complete. If the survey reveals that risky behaviours are at play, both parties will receive a package of tailored resources for further care through an innovative web-based app.