Nefsis Web & Video Conferencing
   Case Study: DODA at Wright State University

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Wright State University’s "Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol" Program Selects Nefsis Web and Video Conferencing for Remote Counseling

Read full-length story as published in AV Technology Magazine (PDF)

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 counselors.


  • 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 and hard-of-hearing
  • 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 counseling in American Sign Language (ASL), DODA had to address substantial communication issues.

"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."

Long-Distance ASL

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 year.

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 also secures 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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