Revised ASAM Criteria to Roll Out with Book and Software

asam-criteria-cover_SMALLThe revised ASAM criteria will soon make its debut through a new publication, The ASAM Criteria: Treatment Criteria for Substance-Related Addictive and Co-occurring Conditions, and The ASAM Criteria Software. David Mee-Lee, MD, chief editor of The ASAM Criteria, discussed key ways the new criteria will be particularly useful to addiction medicine specialists and how the book and software will facilitate application of criteria to addiction medicine daily practice. He and other ASAM criteria experts also addressed the user-friendly features of these two soon-to-be-released resources during Thursday’s Component Session 1, “Update on The ASAM Criteria: The Revision and Software.”

“Many things have changed since the publication of the 2001 edition,” Dr. Mee-Lee said. “We received feedback about the need for the ASAM criteria to be applicable to various settings where addiction medicine specialists work. The result is that we have updated this edition to be useful to specialists working in different settings and with different populations.”

Those populations and settings include working within the criminal justice system, with older adults, with parents of children who need treatment, and with patients in safety-sensitive occupations (pilots, physicians, etc.). The revised edition of The ASAM Criteria also address tobacco-use disorder and gambling disorder, and will be compatible with the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 for consistency in terminology.

Dr. Mee-Lee also promises a book that will be significantly more user-friendly than the 2001 edition.

“We have set out to parallel the process that people go through in treatment from assessment to service planning to placement in the level of care,” he said. “It also will be more user-friendly in terms of the use of graphics and layout so that people can access information much more specifically and efficiently. It will be much easier for readers to find the section of the book they are looking for.”

In tandem with the release of this new edition, is The ASAM Criteria Software, an application-focused resource whose concepts are explained by the book, which will provide a standardized way to apply the ASAM criteria, Dr. Mee-Lee said.

“By using the software and the book together, addiction medicine specialists can really understand how to implement the criteria fully,” he said. “We want to emphasize the point that you need the book to help you understand the criteria, and these are interdependent together. It’s not just using the software alone or the book alone, but rather using the book as a foundation guide to implementing the software.”

The ultimate goal of the book and software is to adhere to the criteria to enhance assessment, placement, and care management processes for providers and payers. Both addiction medicine specialists and payers spend significant amounts of time and resources communicating back and forth in the treatment approval process, he said. Providers spend time seeking authorization for obtaining treatment services for their patients, and payers spend considerable time in utilization management to authorize those treatments. That approval process could be streamlined considerably if providers and payers use The ASAM Criteria Software.

“If we get those payers and providers using it, this could speed up and make authorizations for the levels of care much more efficient,” Dr. Mee-Lee said.

During Thursdays’ Component Session 1, he presented an overview of the new criteria and the layout of The ASAM Criteria: Treatment Criteria for Substance-Related Addictive and Co-occurring Conditions. Attendees can pre-order the new edition of The ASAM Criteria at The Change Companies®, Booth 327. The Change Companies is partnering with ASAM to publish the new edition and will be offering a web-based version of the full text that includes interactive and video components, among other features. Additional products and services will follow the release of the book.

Additionally, David Gastfriend, MD, Vice President for Scientific Communications, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, Mass., discussed The ASAM Criteria Software; Paul Earley, MD, FASAM, Earley Consultancy, LLC, Atlanta, discussed the software and individuals who work in safety-sensitive occupations; and George Kolodner, MD, Medical Director, the Kolmac Clinics, Silver Spring, Md., spoke about withdrawal management.

Attendees can participate in a hands-on workshop—offered three times on Saturday—where they can try the software on computers in an interactive workshop. Space is limited, so visit Booth 518 to register for one of the available workshops.