Apps and Technology

TPAS 2014 Collaborative


Convener: Kristen Smith, Balboa Horizons, [email protected]

Scribe: Gina Thorne, Lakeview


Neena Wilcox, Bridge to Recovery
Sharif Ali, Alta Mira
Ryan Miller, Futures of Palm Beach
John Courshon, Gateway Foundation
Mark Kloster, Jaywalker
Jim Sullivan, SRI
Savannah Ganje, Milestones
Nikki Soda, Harmony
Kim Murphy, Creative Care
Marsha Morris, Addiction Therapeutic Services


Kristen used to do social media at La Hacienda and has presented on the topic at NAATP and Cape Cod.

Social media is the opportunity to show the soul of the treatment center.


  • Kristen doesn’t recommend a private page and only uses public page.
  • You don’t want to have to watch it 24/7, especially in the event someone uses it for an emergency. Only do public page and include message, “If you need help, please call 911 or our main number at xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
  • Turn off private messaging and avoid missing any crisis.
  • Family members can see the public page, too.
  • Best post at LaHa was an ice cream photo. It reminded alumni of their time there and one of their favorite things about LaHa – the ice cream machine. It was an emotional response.
  • At Lakeview – Ami and Karen have their own pages in order to develop alumni’s online community. Gina does the overall Lakeview page.  They also use Twitter frequently.
  • Some Centers do have interactive pages where alumni can post photos and info. It’s an opportunity to be of service to each other, such as when someone posted they needed a ride and another alumni agreed to pick them up.


  • People want to get to know you.
  • Talk about different groups, such as Spirituality, and what’s meaningful about the group.
  • Personalize key words.
  • Don’t use celebrity addiction stories.
  • Create a great headline and then put first sentences (or most important sentences) in bold font so readers can skim and get the gist.


  • Better than anything other than Facebook. Facebook 2. Instagram 3. YouTube


  • Pinterest can be used to focus on what you do, such as a Pinterest page for recovery coaching or a page for alumni events.
  • Kristen – uses Pinterest for things like AA sober gifts board or top daily meditation books. Be sure to show Pinterest icon with your other social media icons on your email signature.


  • Easy to do short videos that are fun. Get alumni involved (sign waiver).
  • Can put photos (or cardboard testimonials) to music and post in YouTube.


Do you let others post on your site?

  • No at LaHa. You want interaction through their comments to your posts but you don’t want anyone to be able to add to your timeline or post their own topics.

How do you deal with negativity?

  • Show your soul in how you handle it.
  • Acknowledge they said something, give your contact info, and then ask them to deal with you. After you’ve talked to them, resolved an issue, or at least responded, go back to where the negative post is and add a comment such as, “Thanks for contacting me. So glad we were able to resolve…”
  • Some alumni will also jump in and respond to a negative poster with their own positive experiences.

How do you effectively communicate in social media?

  • Write the way you talk. Use your own personality in what you say online.

Our company said our staff can’t use our computers to access social media due to being the primary source of viruses.  Is that true?

  • No, it’s probably because they just don’t want people wasting time on Facebook during work hours. Try to get just your alumni staff approved to access whatever social media you use so they can do their jobs.

What’s best time to post and best # of posts?

  • Quality over quantity. No real best time.
  • Consult with a social media expert to check your site and see when you get the most traffic and what trends the most on your site.
  • Google Grants – nonprofits can apply for grants for Ad Words
  • Turn your notifications on to see when people are reading your site.
  • One source: best day to send email is Wednesday

What’s the difference between secret groups and closed groups? And how do you manage them?

  • You can search for closed groups but cannot search for secret groups.
  • When people leave treatment, ask if they want to join your secret group and get their contact info so you can invite them.
  • Include info with discharge forms. Hand them form with the link and they can go there themselves.
  • Do one mass email to all alumni and provide the link to the secret page.
  • Put a notice in the About section that you can ask to be removed at any time.

Other tips and advice:

  • Nikki – Set a schedule for posting on Facebook. Use Hoot Suite or similar to post all at once, set the schedule, and watch the posts appear as intended.
  • Kristen uses a social media calendar along with topics for certain days. Examples – Affirmation Monday, Silly Saturday, Spiritual Sunday.
  • Social media can be overwhelming and exhausting. It’s OK to walk away and take a break.
  • Kristen has done contests. “Feel the Love” in February – ask people to like your site.  If they do, their name goes in a hat and she picks a winner at the end of the month that receives a gift card.  Get winner’s permission to use their name before you announce them.
  • Lakeview – cardboard testimonials – one side is what life is like when you were using. The other is what your life is like in recovery.  They got permission, used them to create a video with music, and run it in their lobby.
  • Make sure you abide by HIPAA – don’t use anyone’s photo/info while in treatment; use only when they become alumni; and get permission.


2014 Collaborative Session Notes 


Convener: Ashley Loeb, Lionrock Recovery  [email protected]


Janelle Wesloh, Hazelden Betty Ford
Jonathan Routhier, Westbridge
Renee Baribeau, Foundations
Dick Dillon, Innovaision
Wally Paton, Back to Basics
Chris Gates, MAP
Heather Lister, CeDAR
Tiffany Gormany, Capstone


Online treatment can be hard to visualize.  IS, IOP, OP & Family, JCAHO & state certification

  • Have a family program – match family members on demographics.
  • Spending as much as we do on treatment and not closing anything after is a waste of original investment.

Need to look at options for treatment that takes work schedule into account.

  • Drug testing, state and HIPAA compliant
  • Secure, no one can hack in. Need to protect PHI
  • Skype/Google chat – not compliant
  • Citrix HD Face is compliant

Drug testing: Worked with companies looking at ways to go oral testing without “cheating” it.

  • Had discussion about value of drug testing, new technology, longer alcohol (E+G), Soberlink.
  • Individualize in the treatment plan based on needs for accountability

Challenge is how to get alumni to engage – needs to be a value so want to participate.

  • Harder for the alumni. Family is easier to motivate – have less resources.
  • Have offered groups with varying durations, lecture.

In the Rooms

  • Lionrock runs the meeting, rents the space.
  • Someone from AA chairs it.

Different ways to do it:

  • Harder to engage alumni. Lots of reminders help.
  • Look at ways to have peers facilitate that have more time in the program.
  • Use free conference calls, chat, video, text-based programs. Use Facebook groups to go along with the calls.
  • It helps to give advance notice and do reminders. Use a variety of methods – lectures, groups, mini-seminars.

Treat it like a marketing plan.

  • Technology, content, and marketing are all important.
  • Content is structured by moderator.
  • Marketing is about how to keep them engaged and how to sign up.

How do you mediate if someone has issues with Internet addiction?

  • Use in healthy way.
  • Help them understand how to use it for recovery, especially with youth.
  • Gamification – concept of multi-online player games
    • Closed, anonymous – custom-built virtual world. All use alias, meetings, therapy, build avatars, virtual environments, many use headsets.
    • Staff knows who’s who. Can share more openly due to anonymity.
    • Have six up and running – some get insurance coverage (limited).

Spring 2015 Collaborative Session Notes


Convener: Patrick Dunn, Journey Pure  [email protected]

Scribe: Neena Wilcox, The Bridge to Recovery  [email protected]


Spollen, Shannon The Meadows [email protected]
Starbuck, Lisa The Farley Center [email protected]
Chadwick, Cindy Life Healing Center [email protected]
Gilbert, Molly Pride Institute [email protected]


List 3 (or more) important ideas offered by the convener.

  1. Using a cloud based aftercare monitoring (daily follow up)
  2. Cost for aftercare monitoring, paid or included
  3. “recovery capitol”

List 3 (or more) great ideas offered by the participants.

  1. Reaching out to alumni via different methods
  2. Pre/past detox data collection (benefit to past) in getting accurate data
  3. Admissions collections of accurate data to reflect referrals

List 3 or more questions or outstanding issues about the topic that everyone wants more information about.

  1. Best CRMs
  2. Data collection practices
  3. Internet systems (i.e.: newsletters, surveys, etc.)


Other things discussed:

Cloud based aftercare support-no insurance reimbursement for aftercare monitoring

Keeping Patient ID number after treatment?

Using a licensed or non-licensed monitor?

If you or any staff have contact, they are still your patient

Cost for aftercare monitoring, some included, some not

Alumni follow up: newsletters, reaching out to alumni via different outlets

Self-reporting post detox to get alumni referral credit

Data collection and how to integrate alumni services outcomes

Spring 2015 Collaborative Session Notes

Alumni Services in a Social Media World

Convener: Neena Wilcox, The Bridge to Recovery [email protected]

Keith Gallant, Futures of Palm Beach [email protected]

Scribe: Neena Wilcox


Gallant, Keith Futures [email protected]
Gates, Chris MAP [email protected]
Gordan, Becky A New Path [email protected]
Hall, William Cornerstone Recovery Center [email protected]
Heller, Nicole Beachway Therapy Center [email protected]
Hutts, David Benchmark [email protected]
Kimbrough, Shea The Refuge [email protected]
O’Shea, Brian New Beginnings [email protected]
Ritter, Kacy Origins [email protected]
Starbuck, Lisa The Farley Center [email protected]


List 3 (or more) important ideas offered by the convener.

  1. Importance of compliance with Facebook private vs. secret groups
  2. Twitter vs. Instagram vs. Facebook –age appropriate
  3. Paying to promote benefits?

List 3 (or more) great ideas offered by the participants.

  1. Newsletters and ways to engage alumni (ie: non-marketing content, clinical articles)
  2. How to handle negativity on social media-respond don’t ignore
  3. Encouraging engagement

List 3 (or more) questions or outstanding issues about the topic that everyone wants to know more about.

  1. Ethical guidelines around Facebook
  2. Compelling content
  3. Networking with one another

Other things discussed:

Facebook: Public vs. Private vs. Secret and ethical guidelines with consents

Instagram: younger populations, simpler, how many outlets do you use?

Twitter: outdated, more for connecting

Sharing: it’s only ok to share if it matches your company’s brand

Pay to promote (boosting): encourage follow up without engagement

Content: content is more important than over posting

Newsletters: engage alumni, reaching out, important NOT to market in the newsletter

2015 Fall Collaborative Notes

Sober Grid

Convener:  Andrew Gelinas  [email protected]

Scribe:  Xena Blair, Acadia Malibu  [email protected]


Diana Foster, The Canyon  [email protected]

Heidi Chaffee, Sunspire Astoria Pointe  [email protected]

Nena Wilcox, The Bridge to Recovery  [email protected]

Lorie Obernauer, LO Group  [email protected]

Gina Thorne, Lakeview Health  [email protected]

Sabrina Mathis, Foundations [email protected]


The Sober Grid app is designed to help eliminate isolation for people post treatment

  • App launched in July 2015
  • Currently over 40,000 users
  • App is free to download

Research shows that typically 6 months after treatment, persons need to reintegrate into social movements

Two main features

  • Recovery/Treatment – talking about their treatment
  • Newsfeed – share stuff and communicate

News post every 60 seconds or less

Recording over 200,000 user sessions a month

User experience perspective – how can we make it easier?

  • There is an option to remain anonymous
  • Provide two buttons which are a great adjunct that can help clients connect
    • Burning Desire (if you have cravings/want to use)
    • Need a Ride (ride to meetings)

Alumni Feature

  • You can sort the grid by people who went through treatment at certain facilities/with you
  • Alumni Coordinators/Staff can sign up as facility
    • Have capabilities to interact with alumni and also delete toxic members from community

HIPAA Compliant

  • Person registers themselves
  • Self-selecting treatment facility – request to join that alumni group

Sober Grid builds the backend portal for the treatment center

  • Working with third party vendor on text messaging option / building a text messaging portal
  • Ability to work grow with needs/requirements of treatment industry

Is Sober Grid good for referrals?

  • Currently Aton Center is using advertising features within app

Benefit of Sober Grid vs. Facebook/Other Social Media

  • Can remain anonymous – self-identifying by person
  • Focused and supportive by others in recovery
  • Increase in admissions and referrals both to treatment and Sober Grid for app use

Future Forward Thinking

  • Identifying resources that would support recovery
  • Recovery focused vs. treatment focused
  • Wellness focused

2015 Fall Collaborative Notes


Convenesr:  Dick Dillon, Innovations, LLC [email protected]

Krystle Conner, The Right Step  [email protected]

Kristen Smith, A New Path  [email protected]

Scribe:  Kristen Smith, A New Path  [email protected]


Andrew Gelinas, Sober Grid   [email protected]

Britini Lyons, Sunspire Spring Mill  [email protected]

Kaitlin Pickrel, Foundations  [email protected]

Jef Mullins, Waters Edge Recovery   [email protected]


What’s the best technology to track alumni?

  • Salesforce: but it’s not social media


Do you use separate Facebook accounts or your personal accounts?

– company page for Facebook

– Didn’t want Facebook to be used as crisis so turned off messages and used it as a way to connect

– Used pics from memorable moments to boost talk, it caused thank you’s and good feedback

– Allows social media to be for referrals and family

– No personal friends on the Facebook page


Email vs. Facebook:   Facebook proves to be easy to reach out especially to younger alumni

Using volunteers for social media?    There are ways around HIPPA for it

Engagement Ideas:

– Taking a picture of the sunset, and sending it to “show your sunset”

– Make the pics fun and appealing

– Use apps to make them fun and artsy

– iCloud sharing can be helpful, then social media person can use it to post

Social Media Tools:   Hootsuite

Create a hashtag for alumni so they can search it; then let alumni know about the hashtag so they can follow it

2015 Fall Collaborative Notes


Conveners: Michael Holtzer, CeDAR  [email protected]

Howard Bryant, CeDAR  [email protected]

 Scribe: Kaitlin Pickrel, Foundations  [email protected]


Krystle Conner, The Right Step [email protected]

Elise Dubois, Rivermend Health [email protected]

Chris Gates, Map [email protected]

Mallie Tucker, Ascend Recovery [email protected]

Ryan Miller, Futures of Palm Beach [email protected]

Kacy Ritter, Origins  [email protected]

Meghan Hoyt, Recovery Ways  [email protected]

Dick Dillon, Innovaision, LLC  [email protected]

Andrew Gelinas, Sober Grid  [email protected]


CeDAR is currently introducing a web based mobile digital application

– The patients in extended care are the group who have currently begun to use the application

– The digital application is NOT social media, it’s a recovery management tool

– The platform has 40 widgets

Question: Is technology going to be a powerful tool for recovery?

Purpose: To get feedback on how this could work within the alumni world


Why have a platform vs. an app?

– Upload the info, someone sees a clip they like, they can upload and interact, this is part of the recovery plan and as people transition it helps.

– It helps fill the gap between Face to Face meetings (12 step, AA, etc.)

 Primary Benefit:

has assessments, if they are struggling then we can shoot them information to help

  • Within the content-people can share within the group, etc.

 How do they login?

– During treatment, they get signed up- web based, etc.

– Turning Point- has IPad

– CeDAR has on-boarded extended care patients and so far no one has interacted on it

 How do we get people to interact?

– One idea: an app that pushes you with an agenda on how to handle the day

– Steve: looks at this as a solution with any chronic disease

– You have to engage and manipulate people into interacting. Personally interacting with people to get them to post. If you want serious community stuff, you need to build. Having an app vs. online community stuff you need to build.

– Having an app vs. online community, question of “there’s an app for that” web based app- set of web based apps that are all bundled into one.

Important to balance:

People want it vs. people that don’t like it

– some people want the notifications and some of them don’t

-not going to be a one size fits all

-bad part of our technology- we oversell it to our company and oversell to ourselves

 Recovery Ways: uses IPad

30 posts a day on it, she doesn’t run it- the people in recovery do. Sending them home with an iPad and they come to them with ideas- the key is getting them used too it from Day 1.

Other points:

– Anything you can do to help them when they walk out the door

– Being able to put them closer to recovery is worth it.

– Perhaps push notifications, maybe at the end of the day, check off what they have accomplished.

Ryan (Futures) All of this has a place:

-Futures has a Facebook group and the page took off.

75% of people in the past 6 months are signing up for it.

-The assessment forms could be helpful.

Individualized Technology:

– In the end having people form structure

– Having the accountability

– Customization

 Family Programing- getting them involved

– You can control the public vs. private

– Technology and healthcare

– Devices and wearables and wellness specific info

– HIPPA Laws and social media, however can be hard to navigate

Sober Grid:

User experience and the type of information. So eager to tell people what is going on, all people want is news, getting involved with the critical mass, constant engagement, user experience

User experience:

  • light switch analogy, think about a light switch- user focused. How can we facilitate and make improvements, launched Facebook login. The community of sober grid gets rid of the red flags that come along with Facebook, etc.

 Detoxing their Facebook:

– Defriending  their drug dealer etc.

– Finding people around that are sober or you are new and need to make friends around your recovery.

Meeting with HIPPA-it’s all about self-disclosure


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Contact Information

Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services
PO Box 1152
Salida, CO 81201
(757) 784-7550


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