Digital remote support - Relapse prevention and behaviour change

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019


Provide alcohol dependant clients with remote support in order to prevent relapse and achieve longer term behaviour change by enhancing existing service provision through digital interventions. The objectives were to increase client engagement, retention and self-confidence, increase sustainability to extend psychological support, reduce representations to treatment and ultimately to reduce the cost to health and social care services associated with repeated treatment episodes.


The digital service uses two-way automated personalised motivational SMS messages to influence behaviour change. It increases timely interventions, specifically at the point of need, reducing professional workload. Over the last 5 years, the intervention was implemented into treatment services across the UK. Clients were given the opportunity to engage with the service and levels of engagement, changes in recovery oriented thoughts and behaviour and representation rates were evaluated and measured, via both qualitative and quantitative methods.


When first implemented, engagement rates for clients were 72% compared to a baseline measurement of 42% and representation rates for those engaged were 2% compared to 9% for those clients not engaged.

In another service, representation rates were 0% and in other they were 1%.

69% of those engaged in one service completed treatment compared to 41% for those who were not engaged with the digital service.

Results were disseminated through end of project reports.


The main lessons learnt were not around the digital technology; where clients and staff used the system they reported a valuable service and enhancement to their experience. The most valuable lessons were how change management needs to happen across all stakeholders for successful implementation.


Mr Graham Mallinson, d2 Digital by Design Ltd Professor Ken Eason, The Bayswater Institute / Loughborough University Ms Priya Davda, The Bayswater Institute Mr Paul Duffy, Public Health England Dr Tracy McClelland, University of Bradford

Conflicts of interest:

Funding Sources: Public Health England, The Health Foundation, Nesta, d2 Digital by Design

No conflict of interest


Download the presentation

Download the full presentation here

Miss Kate Evans