NIAAA Navigator: An Award-Winning Online Tool to Help Adults Find the Best Alcohol Abuse Treatment

IQ Solutions

Recognized as a 2018 FedHealthIT Innovation Award Winner and Recipient of the 2018 ClearMark Award of Distinction

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In any given year, 10 percent of adults diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) receive treatment, yet many do not receive the care that best fits their needs. Complicating the process, it can be a challenge for people to know where to look for treatment as many of the options are not well-integrated into general health care. Add the stigma and stereotypes about alcoholism and treatment, as well as misconceptions about available options and their effectiveness, and finding the right treatment can be daunting.

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To help people improve their chances for success, IQ Solutions and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) teamed up to create the Alcohol Treatment Navigator, an online tool that offers step-by-step strategies to help people search for professionally led, evidence-based alcohol treatment.

We’re honored to announce that the Alcohol Treatment Navigator was recently recognized by a panel of current and former federal and health care industry leaders with a 2018 FedHealthIT Innovation Award, as well as the 2018 ClearMark Award of Distinction.

“This was a project that had great collaborative flow between client and contractor,” said Paulina Puig, IQ Solutions’ project manager. “We iterated through the development of the tool from content, design, user testing, programming, and a successful launch. It’s exciting to see the tool recognized by these organizations.”

Drawing on decades of scientific research, IQ Solutions and NIAAA developed this interactive website to help close the knowledge gap and simplify the search for treatment. Input from usability testing with target audiences helped improve readability and simplify the design of the tool. The tool uses plain language principles, ensuring the user can quickly and easily understand AUD treatment information.  

“The end product is so much more than we could ever have envisioned when we first sat down to sketch out a way to help people find treatment,” said Lori Ducharme, the Program Director of the NIAAA Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. “This is absolutely going to help people.”

While the target audience is adults seeking alcohol treatment for a loved one or themselves, the site also serves physicians and other health professionals who may need to make referrals of patients to AUD treatment. 

The Alcohol Treatment Navigator saves costs for NIAAA by reducing the time it takes staff to respond to inquiries from people seeking alcohol treatment. It also uses existing national directories of alcohol treatment programs and providers maintained by trusted entities, eliminating the need for NIAAA to create and maintain a database.

And the best result of the Navigator is it potentially helps people with AUD find effective treatment earlier in the disease process, which could save months or years of costly trial and error.

The Alcohol Treatment Navigator showcases how IQ Solutions delivers meaningful results for our clients and the people they serve.

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