Final Research Report
View this project's final research report.
Results of This Project
Related Journal Citations
Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments.
Peer reviewers commented and the researchers made changes or provided responses. Those comments and responses included the following:
- The reviewers noted that the report focused primarily on positive study results, indicating improved retention in substance abuse treatment for California counties implementing American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria for treatment intake compared to counties that did not use this approach, with little attention to negative study results that were also important. The researchers pointed out that they did discuss the potential reasons for negative results, in particular that whether or not ASAM-based intakes were used did not affect retention when patients started outpatient treatment before moving to residential.
- Reviewers also felt that the researchers should discuss how this natural experiment study design could result in alternative explanations for their study results, for instance that counties that did not implement ASAM criteria were able to use larger residential centers with more patient beds than counties not implementing these criteria. The researchers reported that there were no differences in residential center capacity so this could not explain treatment retention differences between the two comparison groups of counties.
- The reviewers asked the researchers whether they omitted Los Angeles County treatment centers, which implemented a computerized ASAM-based intake process, from the main comparison of ASAM-based versus non-ASAM-based intake procedures because of the incomplete data researchers received from that county. The researchers confirmed that they had originally intended to omit the computerized procedures from the comparison and did not do so only as a result of the missing data. In the report, the researchers stated that the data from the computerized assessment were found to be unreliable.
- Similarly, the reviewers noted that the researchers described retention outcomes separately for patients in residential settings from patients who started in outpatient settings, but there was no reference to this differentiation in the study specific aims. The reviewers asked the researchers to clarify the results for the full sample as described in the study aims, rather than separately for these two groups based on treatment intensity. The researchers explained that since the study goal was to determine whether proper treatment placement would improve retention rates, it should be assumed that they would want to look at patients based on the level of care they received after the ASAM-based intake.
- Has Results