Using nominal group technique to identify barriers, facilitators, and preferences among patients seeking treatment for opioid use disorder: A needs assessment for decision making support

Dharushana Muthulingam, Joshua Bia, Lynn M. Madden, Scott O. Farnum, Declan T. Barry, Frederick L. Altice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The opioid crisis requires rapid scale-up of evidence-based interventions to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), of which pharmacologic therapies with methadone, buprenorphine or long-acting naltrexone are most effective. With recently-developed formulations, there are unprecedented treatment options. Even when pharmacologic treatment is accessible, however, uptake remains low, suggesting individual-level barriers. Decision aids are an evidence-based strategy that may overcome these barriers. This study aims to inform such a tool by describing and rank-ordering patients' considerations when deciding whether to start medication and, if starting, choosing a medication. Methods: Adults with OUD (N = 81) attending an addiction treatment center or syringe exchange program completed focus groups using nominal group technique, a consensus method that generates and ranks response. The qualitative component generates a broad array of responses, followed by rank-ordering to prioritize responses. Responses to questions about starting any medications and the pros and cons of five specific medications were ranked and coded. Results: The decision to initiate pharmacologic therapy and choose among medications was influenced by six key attributes in decreasing priority: (1) benefits, (2) side effects of treatment, (3) medication delivery strategies, (4) convenience, (5) how expectations for treatment are met, and (6) how medication (especially methadone) can represents trading one addiction for another. Conclusions: Pharmacologic properties, logistical factors, and managing expectations were important themes in decision-making for starting, choosing, and staying on medications, and to a lesser degree, negative views about medications, specifically OAT, as an addiction itself. Desire for more control over treatment persisted in all themes. This study identified specific knowledge gaps, expectations, and priorities which are important for developing a decision aid for OUD treatment relevant to the target group. Nominal group technique is an established mixed-methodology that we have applied to a new population and purpose, that of conducting needs assessment for decision aid development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Volume100
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Buprenorphine
  • Decision science
  • Implementation science
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Patient preferences

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