1. Allen, Karen PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

Most people view technology through a lens of what occurs on devices and the software associated with it. However, over 20 years ago, Ken Funk (1999) shared a definition of technology that provides a broader perspective. According to Funk, "Technology can be viewed and defined from five perspectives. First, technology is the rational process of creating means to order and transform matter, energy, and information in order to realize certain valued ends. Second, technology is the objects (devices, systems, and methods) resulting from that process. Third, technology is the knowledge that is created by, and drives the technological process. Fourth, technology is a subset of related technological objects and knowledge (for example, computer technology). And fifth, technology is all of the above, plus the developers and users of technological objects, and the worldview that has emerged from and drives the technological process."


Weston (2020) states that "while the age of technology has been evolving over decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed and heightened the visibility of technology tremendously. The pandemic accelerated technology time to market. This is especially visible in changes in healthcare. Telehealth services and virtual doctor visits, have increased during the pandemic. Social distancing created a need for virtual reality to provide information-on-demand, and robotics/drones to handle deliveries." In addition, many providers of substance abuse/addictions services utilized increased and/or enhanced technological approaches.


The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was ahead of the game and showed visionary leadership in the creation and use of technology to impact healthcare in the field. It began a technological approach called "Technology Transfer Centers." According to (2021), "The purpose of the Technology Transfer Centers (TTC) is to develop and strengthen the specialized behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare workforce that provides prevention, treatment and recovery support services for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness. The TTC program is comprised of three networks: Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC), Mental Health Technology Transfer Centers (MHTTC) and Prevention Technology Transfer Centers (PTTC). Each network is comprised of: 1 National Coordinator Center; 10 Regional Centers; 1 American Indian & Alaska Native focused Center; and 1 Hispanic & Latino focused Center."


Because substance abuse/addictions affect our lives in so many ways, various aspects of society need access to knowledge, methods, processes, and even devices to fight this public health challenge. Hospitals, clinics, treatment programs, justice systems, child protection systems, educational systems, social work systems, and psychological/psychiatric systems are only some of the numerous groups involved in this work. As a result, all three of these centers are of great value.


This issue of Journal of Addictions Nursing is focused on technology and addictions. It will include research using various types of technological devices, approaches, and knowledge. In sharing the results of research, we are transferring technology for you all to use. Yes, diffusing knowledge is transferring technology, especially when it includes research using technology devices. A model that explains this process is shown below (Addiction Technology Transfer Centers [ATTC] Network Technology Transfer Model; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021):


"Technology transfer begins during the development of a new technology, continues through its dissemination, and extends into its early implementation. This process requires multiple stakeholders and resources, and involves activities related to translation and adoption. Technology transfer is designed to accelerate the diffusion of an innovation."

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Having visited dozens of women and children's treatment programs across the country, over more than 20 years, I have seen firsthand the impact of how transferring technology helps improve the quality and outcomes of programs and services. This transfer occurred through subject matter experts providing direct training, webinars, focused training events, application of research, and more. Furthermore, a few years ago, I was given the opportunity to participate as a consultant with the Mid-America ATTC, at the ATTC Network Coordinating Office sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Nursing. The technology transfer that I was trained in, and used, is addressed in one of the articles of this issue-the ECHO method.


When innovations in processes, methods, ideas, and devices are developed, shared, and implemented, it begins with research (original or applied), evaluation, demonstrations, and/or development of evidence for practice. Again, the goal of this issue of Journal of Addictions Nursing is to increase your awareness of some of the five types of technology presented earlier by Funk, through either the ATTCs' resource or direct reports of results from original or applied research, evaluations, or demonstration. Hopefully, you will have several "takeaways" you can use in the great work that you do.




Funk K. (1999). Technology and Christian values.[Context Link]


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Addictions Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) network.[Context Link]


Weston S. (2020). Welcome to the new age of technology.[Context Link]