THF Pilot Study

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AlcoChange – A Smartphone Tool to Reduce Alcohol Use and Admissions in Alcoholic Liver Disease Royal Free London NHS Trust

  • Run by Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Aimed to reduce alcohol use and hospital admissions for patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD).
  • ALD patients were given a smartphone app and breathalyser to accurately self-monitor alcohol intake and allow contact by alcohol workers, to influence sustained behaviour change.
  • Project ran from spring 2015 to the end of 2017.

Alcohol contributes to over 5% of deaths worldwide, and UK death rates from alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) are rising. Ongoing alcohol use in ARLD leads to markedly increased mortality, however there are no effective pharmacological therapies for maintaining abstinence. Behaviour change interventions (BCIs) are effective psychological tools for reducing alcohol use, but are difficult to scale.

This project developed a smartphone app and breathalyser (AlcoChange), to:

  • facilitate self-monitoring and deliver BCIs in response to patient triggers
  • undertake an open-label pilot study of 60 patients with ARLD, to determine compliance with the app/breathalyser and changes in self-reported alcohol consumption.

AlcoChange was developed following feedback from alcohol service users. It allows monitoring of craving, alcohol consumption and breath alcohol, and provides motivational messaging in response to patient triggers.

The pilot study recruited inpatients/outpatients at the Trust with ARLD and recent alcohol use. Inclusion criteria were intent to maintain abstinence, and possession of a compatible phone. Exclusion criteria were Child-Pugh score >7, or inability to provide consent. The primary endpoint was self-reported alcohol use.

Click here to view/download the final report