Patient outcomes for Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (IET) HEDIS measure

April 1, 2024

The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is one of health care’s most widely used performance improvement tools. More specifically, it’s a core set of measures that provide an in-depth analysis of the quality of care that health care organizations provide to their customers. Collectively, Behavioral Health HEDIS measures help ensure that our customers – and your patients – receive affordable quality care when and where they need it most.

Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (IET)

As one of the Behavioral Health HEDIS measures, Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Treatment uses two measures to improve rates at which individuals with alcohol and other drug dependence initiate and engage in treatment. They include outpatient visits, intensive outpatient visits, or partial hospitalization with a mental health provider:

  1. Measure 1 – Individuals who initiate treatment within 14 days of the AOD diagnosis.
  2. Measure 2 – Individuals who had two additional AOD treatments within 30 days after initiating treatment.

The IET measure is important because in 2020, 40.3 million Americans over 12 years of age (about 14.5% of the population) were classified as having a substance use disorder (SUD) involving AOD.1 Treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in conjunction with counseling or other behavioral therapies, has been shown to reduce AOD-associated morbidity and mortality, improve health, productivity and social outcomes, and reduce health care spending.2

Drug Treatment Outcomes

Tips to improve outcomes for Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment

To help your patients comply with their aftercare and treatment plans, consider the following tips:

  • Schedule any follow-up appointments to occur within 14 days, before the patient leaves the office or inpatient facility.
  • Maintain appointment availability in your practice for recent hospital discharges.
  • Explain the importance of follow-up to your patients.
  • Utilize phone, email, or text appointment reminders to help ensure patients attend their scheduled appointments.
  • Reach out to patients who do not keep initial follow-up appointments and reschedule them as soon as possible.
  • Telehealth services do count for HEDIS measures and can be utilized by patients.
  • Offer telehealth visits for patients who are unable to come to the office within 14 days of AOD diagnosis.

Additional resources

For more information about the HEDIS measure for Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse or Dependence Treatment, visit the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Initiation and Engagement of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse or Dependence Treatment  web page ( > HEDIS > HEDIS Measures and Technical Resources, see Access/Availability of Care).

  1. SAMHSA. (2020) Highlights for 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from:
  2. NCQA. (n.d.). Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment.  Retrieved from

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