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Rural Health Information Hub

Patient-Focused Evaluation Considerations for MOUD Programs

Considering individual needs is a critical element of patient-centered care, and can impact ultimate program outcomes, making it important to determine appropriate evaluation measures when considering program success. Patient goals and geography can impact how a program providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) measures success, particularly in rural communities. For example, a patient facing transportation challenges may want to wean off medication eventually, while another patient may have the goal of extended maintenance. In some rural areas, access to MOUD may also simply be more limited than in others, due to any number of factors, increasing the need to include metrics related to tapering off medication rather than focusing on maintenance as indicators of program success.

When thinking about measuring effectiveness of an MOUD program, it may be worthwhile to think about how individual patients define success, or patient-important outcomes. A patient who helps define their treatment goals and can then work with a program to meet those goals may be more successful in treatment than a patient who is pushed to meet goals that may not be as personally relevant. It may also be useful to consider how MOUD may impact functional outcomes such as those related to memory, return to work, balance and more, keeping in mind that functional outcomes may also differ from person to person.