Intervention via Automation by ProQuest


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                                                                                             real person,” says Dr. Amy Rubin, direc-
                                                                                             tor of automated programs for the BMC
                                                                                             team and a counseling psychologist.
                                                                                             “Using speech, what we’re trying to do,
                                                                                             and what the research also shows is
                                                                                             helpful, is to identify people early on and
                                                                                             to treat them in a nonjudgmental med-
                                                                                             ical setting. If you wait until someone is
                                                                                             seriously ill or dependent, then they
                                                                                             may have already lost jobs and their
                                                                                             families—and that’s really very late.”

                                                                                             Keeping Tabs
                                                                                                Even before SAMHSA issued an RFP
                                                                                             looking for universal ways that primary
                                                                                             care practices could better detect alcohol
                                                                                             and drug problems among their patients,
                                                                                             BMC had been using interactive voice re-
                                                                                             sponse (IVR) systems to care for patients
                                                                                             with chronic health conditions. For exam-

     Intervention via
                                                                                             ple, in the late 1980s, BMC’s Medical In-
                                                                                             formation Systems Unit team built a
                                                                                             system to monitor patients with hyperten-
                                                                                             sion between their doctor appointments.

  Boston Medical Center designs a federally funded IVR system
                                                                                                “In the ICU we’re monitoring people
                                                                                             second to second, [but out of the office]
                                                                                             how do we ensure that they actually do
                                                                                             what we tell them?” says Dr. Robert Fried-
                                                                                             man, head of the BMC team developing
      to detect patients at risk of substance abuse | BY GAYLE KESTEN                        voice solutions and a physician who has
                                                                                             worked in the field of biomedical informat-
                     rgans can be transplanted. Advanced cancer treatments are               ics since the early 1960s. “We rely too
                     saving lives. Babies are being born to previously infertile cou-        much on patients and family members. I
                     ples. Without a doubt, the medical field has come a long way.           thought, we need a way to somehow mon-
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