At Plum, we spend a fair amount of time thinking of applications for IVR technology, which seem to run the gamut and even surprise us sometimes. This one wasn’t a huge surprise, but it was a nice one.
The Research Society on Alcoholism conducted a study on the use of IVR in treatment—specifically the measuring of daily alcohol consumption and other behaviors. The researchers found that IVR worked well in that application.
Interactive voice response technology (IVR) allows investigators to collect daily measures of drinking, medication adherence, mood and other treatment-relevant variables that may change day to day during a clinical trial.
One of the most important aspects of alcohol-abuse treatment is recordkeeping. (I imagine this is particularly important in the early stages of treatment when people are still battling to quit altogether.)
But recordkeeping tends to be an imprecise science when caregivers are asking problem drinkers to recall how much they drank during the course of the previous week, for example. If they haven’t written it down, they probably won’t remember accurately. (That’s just the nature of memory.)
The Research Society on Alcoholism report (Using Daily Interactive Voice Response Technology to Measure Drinking and Related Behaviors in a Pharmacotherapy Study) states that using IVR is a “feasible” application for the technology and is actually a more accurate one than memory recall.
We found a high level of participant adherence to the IVR protocol, higher levels of drinking reported by IVR than by a commonly used recall method, and distinct within-day associations between daily mood and alcohol consumption: these could not be obtained through traditional assessment methods.
IVR can also apply to all sorts of medical treatments that require recordkeeping, such as drug addiction or pain maintenance during cancer treatment.