Increase research on tech-assisted monitoring and treatment for SUD

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) should implement a fast-track review process for any new evidence-based technology supporting substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatments.[1]


In response to the growing overdose crisis and the need for a wider variety of tools to help prevent and treat SUDs, the 2017 President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recommended that CMS, FDA, and USPSTF implement a fast-track review process for new evidence-based Technology-Assisted Monitoring and Treatment (TAMT).[1]

TAMT may improve health outcomes for high-risk and SUD patients.[1][2] New technologies such as wearable devices, home monitoring systems, digital therapies, or software-based applications are being leveraged to improve access to care for SUDs and track outcomes.[1] These advances have allowed access to SUD monitoring, treatment, and services through phones, laptops, and tablets.[2] Congress should invest additional resources into further developing this technology and accelerate its safe use.

While this is still an emerging area of technology and care delivery, once a product is deemed safe and effective for the treatment of SUDs, it is critical to provide timely access and reimbursement. Ensuring access to new technology requires joint efforts among entities that play different regulatory roles. The FDA may be tasked with reviewing the safety and effectiveness of a new product or application. CMS will be responsible for evaluating insurance coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. The USPSTF may also have a role to play, given its authority to determine which preventive services must be covered by health insurance plans as required by the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of these agencies' regulatory roles, they should have expedited review processes in place to ensure new and emerging TAMT reaches patients as quickly as possible.[1]


1. Presidential Commission. The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Last Updated October 2017.

2. Carnevale Associates. Mobile Health Interventions for Substance Use Disorder. Last Updated February 26, 2020.