Wright State University’s "Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol" Program Selects
Nefsis Web and Video Conferencing for Remote Counseling
Obstacle #1: Recovering drug and alcohol patients in Ohio need regular
counseling to overcome their addictions.
Obstacle #2: The patients are deaf and hard of hearing.
Obstacle #3: They are geographically scattered around the state.
Nefsis takes care of Obstacles #2 and #3, and leaves Obstacle #1 to the
- Recovery patients in geographically distributed program need counseling services
- Patients are deaf or hard-of-hearing
- Develop program for long-distance counseling with ASL-fluent counselors
- Use Nefsis web and video conferencing for counseling sessions with patients
located anywhere in Ohio
Business and IT Benefits:
- Nefsis online meetings connect counselors to patients effectively
- High-quality video is well-suited to needs of deaf
- Encrypted video stream
helps covered entity comply with HIPAA
- Recorded online meetings demonstrate program
for other organizations
The Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol (DODA) program at Wright State University in
Ohio wanted to extend their drug and alcohol treatment to members of the deaf
and hard-of-hearing community. To offer patients effective, long-distance
American Sign Language (ASL), DODA had to address substantial
"In October 2007, we received a three-year,
$1.5-million dollar grant to develop an e-therapy program for the deaf and
hard-of-hearing," explains Susan Fraker, director of DODA.
"Since most people in the target group use ASL and are geographically
spread out, we had to find a way to connect them all with high-definition
video conferencing so that they could see the signers on screen. That led
us to examine Nefsis."
Most deaf people have video phones, but that technology limits the program’s
counseling and does not provide access to the group counseling, education and
peer support that are crucial to recovery. In March of 2008, the team chose
Nefsis video conferencing for its ease of use, multi-user capabilities, and
high-quality video, which deaf people rely on for effective communication.
For all of the Ohio patients in their program, DODA now uses Nefsis to offer
three weekly group counseling sessions with a counselor who is fluent in ASL. On
average, patients are located about 140 miles away from the DODA center. With
Nefsis video conferencing, DODA also offers online peer mentoring
in 12-step meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. The main
office sets the meeting times, and the Deaf Recovery Community leads the online
meetings, which have become an ASL opportunity for deaf and hard-of-hearing people
in recovery anywhere in the country.
More Than They Bargained For
DODA has taken Nefsis and video conferencing beyond the core recovery program
to offer resources to many people they could not otherwise have served,
including meetings with community partners all over Ohio and the U.S. DODA's
unlimited reach has helped it to grow, as restrictions on manpower and
time/travel have fallen away. The fiscal benefit for the program compounds every
DODA is pleased that Nefsis video conferencing works so well for them and
their patients, and that they do not have to fit their treatment into video
conferencing parameters, because Nefsis does what they want it to do. Nefsis
the video conference with encryption that helps covered entities like DODA
comply with HIPAA.
"We can record and review our Nefsis online meetings and show them to
other organizations that want to serve the deaf and hard of hearing," concludes
Fraker. "We recently received a new, three-year grant to expand the program to
people with all disabilities that have a barrier to drug and alcohol-related
treatments. Ohio is looking at recognizing video conferencing therapy as a
Medicaid-billable service, so DODA is moving the treatment and medical therapy
of its patients in the direction of high-quality access for anyone at anytime
with video conferencing."
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