An Effective Web Presence for Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

Thomas W. Link, Jennifer L. Hefner, Eric W. Ford, Timothy R. Huerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Website development for health care has only been prevalent in the last two and a half decades. The first websites were electronic versions of brochures providing hardly any interaction with the consumer or potential consumer. The percentage of consumers that use the internet during the decision-making process for health care providers continues to rise. As a result, the websites of health care providers are becoming more of a representation of the facility and creating an organizational image rather than a brochure-like informational page. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze substance abuse treatment center's websites in the State of California with the goal of informing the management of substance abuse centers regarding an effective and inexpensive means to closing the marketing gaps in the industry. Methods: This brief research report presents the results of employing an automated web-crawler to assess website quality along five dimensions: accessibility, content, marketing, technology, and usability score. Results: The sample mean scores for all dimensions were between 4 and 6 on a 10-point scale. On average larger facilities had higher quality websites. Conclusions: The low mean scores on these dimensions indicate that that substance abuse centers have significant room for improvement of their website's. Efficiently spending marketing funds to increase the effectiveness of a treatment center's website can be a low cost way for even small facilities to increase market competitiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 21 2016


  • addiction
  • alcoholism
  • marketing
  • Substance abuse
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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