Brief intervention with peer recovery coach support has been used to generate referrals to substance use disorder treatment from the emergency department (ED). This retrospective study evaluated factors associated with successful linkage to treatment following brief intervention in the ED.
Data were extracted from the electronic health record for patients who were referred to substance use treatment from the ED and for whom follow-up data regarding treatment attendance was available (n=666). We examined associations between demographic and insurance variables, substance use, mental health diagnosis, prior abstinence, and stage of change with successful linkage to substance use treatment after ED referral.
The sample was majority male (68%), White (62%), and had a mean age of 43 years (SD=12). Medicaid was the most common insurance (49%) followed by employer/private (34%). Multivariable logistic regression determined patients with Medicaid (OR=2.94, 95% CI:2.09-4.13, p=<.001), those who had a documented alcohol use disorder diagnosis (OR=1.59, 95% CI:1.074-2.342, p=.02), and those in the “Action” stage of change (OR=2.33, 95% CI:1.47-3.69, p=<.001) had greater odds of being successfully linked to treatment.
These results identify characteristics of patients available in the health record to determine who is more likely or less likely to attend substance use treatment following ED referral. Given appropriate screening, this information could be used to direct standard care resources to those with high likelihood of treatment attendance and strengthen follow-up interventions with peer recovery coaches for those with lower likelihood of treatment attendance.