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Smartphone applications to reduce alcohol consumption and help patients with alcohol use disorder: a state-of-the-art review

Authors Meredith S, Alessi S, Petry N

Received 19 August 2015

Accepted for publication 18 November 2015

Published 11 December 2015 Volume 2015:1 Pages 47—54


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Utkan Demirci

Steven E Meredith, Sheila M Alessi, Nancy M Petry

Calhoun Cardiology Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA

Abstract: Hazardous drinking and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are substantial contributors to USA and global morbidity and mortality. Patient self-management and continuing care are needed to combat these public health threats. However, services are rarely provided to patients outside of clinic settings or following brief intervention. Smartphone applications ("apps") may help narrow the divide between traditional health care and patient needs. The purpose of this review is to identify and summarize smartphone apps to reduce alcohol consumption or treat AUD that have been evaluated for feasibility, acceptability, and/or efficacy. We searched two research databases for peer-reviewed journal articles published in English that evaluated smartphone apps to decrease alcohol consumption or treat AUD. We identified six apps. Two of these apps (A-CHESS and LBMI-A) promoted self-reported reductions in alcohol use, two (Promillekoll and PartyPlanner) failed to promote self-reported reductions in alcohol use, and two (HealthCall-S and Chimpshop) require further evaluation and testing before any conclusions regarding efficacy can be made. In summary, few evaluations of smartphone apps to reduce alcohol consumption or treat AUD have been reported in the scientific literature. Although advances in smartphone technology hold promise for disseminating interventions among hazardous drinkers and individuals with AUD, more systematic evaluations are necessary to ensure that smartphone apps are clinically useful.

Keywords: smartphone, app, mHealth, alcohol, alcohol use disorder, hazardous drinking

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