TheĀ goal of the ORION project is to develop and test an innovative e-health tool designed to identify individuals who are at high risk for suffering a drug overdose.

This project will deliver an e-health intervention which includes known risk factors for suffering an overdose. The model for assessing overdose risk will be based on the risk factors identified in the existing literature, and presented in an easy-to-use, computerized and interactive format for clinicians and patients to use together. It is envisioned that such a well-developed overdose risk assessment tool would offer service and healthcare providers with an opportunity to identify and support patients who are most at risk for suffering a drug overdose. Furthermore, the software may help patients better understand the overdose risk factors relevant to them and having an impact by making potential changes to their lifestyles.

The software will be modeled on a previous decision analysis software program that was developed to NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) guidelines for the treatment of hypertension. This tool was found to have benefits for both clinicians and patients and has merit in improving health through a more patient-centered and individual treatment plan.

The software package which is to be developed for the ORION project aims to build on these high standards and transfer this approach to a clinical population which has not been targeted previously with a decision making system, i.e. a group of substance users. The project will be developed as part of a pan-European study with four research sites in Scotland, Germany, Denmark and Italy. Upon initial development of the software and translation into the different languages, the e-health tool will be pilot tested with 10 patients at each of the four European sites.

Following this pilot phase, the software will be reviewed and modified before launching the main phase of data collection. The aim is to collect data from 160 substance users across the four sites, involving different settings (e.g. inpatient and outpatient) and different modes of delivery (e.g. different computer setups and different levels of clinician involvement). The data collection will involve both qualitative and quantitative methods. While each site will be responsible for reporting their individual results, the data will also be collated in a larger report by the end of the study.

This study will function as the first step in an eventual wider dissemination of the e-health tool across Europe.





With financial support from the EU’s Drug Prevention and Information programme