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Using iPads to Connect People Suffering from Substance Use Disorder with Help in Real Time

The Warm Hand Off program has been in operation for approximately three years, and recent data suggests there are opportunities to improve utilization of this program to connect individuals suffering from substance use disorders with a certified recovery specialist or an addiction treatment professional.  Using the new Warm Hand Off Tele-Referral, patients in the Emergency Room are able to connect with certified recovery specialists or other addiction treatment professionals at Penn Foundation via iPads and ZOOM technology.  This is a pilot program at Abington-Lansdale Hospital, the first in the area to use Warm Hand Off Tele-Referral.

What is Warm Hand Off?

The Warm Hand Off is a process for patients who arrive in one of the Abington – Jefferson Health Emergency Departments and have overdosed or been diagnosed with substance use disorder. In some cases, patients are transported from Emergency Medical Services to the Emergency Trauma Center and given Narcan, a lifesaving drug that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid emergency. 

Warm Hand Off Tele-Referral

The goal of the Warm Hand Off Tele-Referral program is to increase the likelihood that patients will choose to undergo treatment when someone who understands their situation is available to engage the patient in real time to facilitate their treatment and recovery. This pilot program at Lansdale Hospital commenced in September 2020.

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