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Implementation of computer-assisted therapy for substance misuse: a qualitative study of Breaking Free Online using Roger's diffusion of innovation theory

Sarah Elison (Head of Research, based at Research and Development Department, Breaking Free Online, Manchester, UK)
Jonathan Ward (Managing Director, based at Research and Development Department, Breaking Free Online, Manchester, UK)
Glyn Davies (Service Development Director, based at Research and Development Department, Breaking Free Online, Manchester, UK)
Mark Moody (Executive Director, based at North & Midlands Regional Office, CRI, Leeds, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 25 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the adoption and implementation of computer-assisted therapy (CAT) using Breaking Free Online (BFO) in a social care and health charity working with people affected by drugs and alcohol dependence, Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI).

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with service managers, practitioners, peer mentors and service users. Data were thematically analysed and themes conceptualised using Roger's Diffusion of Innovation Theory (Rogers, 1995, 2002, 2004).

Findings

A number of perceived barriers to adoption of BFO throughout CRI were identified within the social system, including a lack of IT resources and skills. However, there were numerous perceived benefits of adoption of BFO throughout CRI, including broadening access to effective interventions to support recovery from substance dependence, and promoting digital inclusion. Along with the solutions that were found to the identified barriers to implementation, intentions around longer-term continuation of adoption of the programme were reported, with this process being supported through changes to both the social system and the individuals within it.

Research limitations/implications

The introduction of innovations such as BFO within large organisations like CRI can be perceived as being disruptive, even when individuals within the organisation recognise its benefits. For successful adoption and implementation of such innovations, changes in the social system are required, at organisational and individual levels.

Practical implications

The learning points from this study may be relevant to the substance misuse sector, and more widely to criminal justice, health and social care organisations.

Originality/value

This study is the first of its kind to use a qualitative approach to examine processes of implementation of CAT for substance misuse within a large treatment and recovery organisation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Dr Sarah Elison, Dr Jonathan Ward and Mr Glyn Davies are all employees of Breaking Free Online where the Breaking Free Online treatment programme has been developed.

Citation

Elison, S., Ward, J., Davies, G. and Moody, M. (2014), "Implementation of computer-assisted therapy for substance misuse: a qualitative study of Breaking Free Online using Roger's diffusion of innovation theory", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 207-218. https://doi.org/10.1108/DAT-05-2014-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited