Interactive Tool Helps Teens Curb Substance Abuse

August 21, 2023
Getty Images photo of a child on a tablet in a doctor's office.

DETROIT (Aug. 16, 2023) – Getting kids to talk about substance use, depression, anxiety and suicide can be tough. Doctors are uniquely positioned to help. A tool developed at Henry Ford Health is making those conversations between doctors and kids more open and productive. 

“What's really great is that our research suggests it’s also making kids want to change," said Jordan M. Braciszewski, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and researcher at Henry Ford.   

Dr. Braciszewski created a digital tool to screen kids for drug use and facilitate conversations. There also are questions about tobacco use, e-cigarettes, suicide, anxiety and depression.  

When patients arrive in their Henry Ford pediatrician’s office, they’re given an iPad or tablet and asked to watch a three-minute interactive video.  The video asks questions about the patient’s use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes or vapes, along with anxiety, depression and suicide and gives immediate, personalized help based on the patient's responses. 

The tool sends responses directly to the pediatrician, helping to facilitate a conversation when the patient and doctor meet in the exam room.   

“This tool appears to be helping kids decide to use drugs less,” Dr. Braciszewski said.  

Kids rate their desire to change before and after watching the video. Braciszewski said data shows before completing the screening, kids rated their desire to change as a 1.5 out of 10. But just three minutes after the interactive assessment, that number jumps to 6.5 out of 10.  

“Anyone who has a teen knows that a lot of them struggle with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and peer pressure. Some people don't know who to reach out to or who they can talk to,” said Dr. Michelle Day, a senior staff pediatrician Henry Ford Medical Center-Farmington in West Broomfield. “By opening the door with this iPad screening, it gives kids the opportunity to have that discussion, to raise concerns and to ask questions that they normally may not have had the opportunity to ask.” 




Serving communities across Michigan and beyond, Henry Ford Health is committed to partnering with patients and members along their entire health journey. Henry Ford Health provides a full continuum of services – from primary and preventative care, to complex and specialty care, health insurance, a full suite of home health offerings, virtual care, pharmacy, eye care and other healthcare retail. 

It is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, recognized for clinical excellence in cancer care, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and sports medicine, and multi-organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top five NIH-funded institutions in Michigan, Henry Ford Health engages in more than 2,000 research projects annually. Equally committed to educating the next generation of health professionals, Henry Ford Health trains more than 4,000 medical students, residents and fellows every year across 50+ accredited programs. 

With more than 33,000 valued team members, Henry Ford Health is also among Michigan’s largest and most diverse employers, including nearly 6,000 physicians and researchers from the Henry Ford Medical Group, Henry Ford Physician Network and Jackson Health Network. 

The health system is led by President and CEO Robert G. Riney and serves a growing number of customers across 250+ locations throughout Michigan including five acute care hospitals, two destination facilities for complex cancer and orthopedics and sports medicine care, behavioral health, primary care and urgent care centers. 


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