The Baltimore-based startup company “emocha Mobile Health” https://www.emocha.com focusing on medication adherence, received a SBIR award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://www.drugabuse.gov. The Phase 1 award (R44DA044053) was made possible through the NIH Fast-Track mechanism and totals $225,000 with an additional $1.5 million for Phase 2 to be granted upon achieving milestones.
The startup company is caring for TB patients using the “Directly Observed Therapy” (DOT) treatment program which is the practice of observing a patient ingest every dose of medication. Outcomes will include data on adherence, retention in care, measures of illicit opioid use and abstinence, and medication diversion. DOT, is the worldwide standard of care in TB and methadone maintenance treatment. While DOT can be resource intensive, it is the gold standard for securing adherence in TB.
The startup’s use of the DOT program makes care for medication adherence cost-effective and scalable. The startup is becoming the market leader for video DOT among public health departments monitoring TB patients. The company has also deployed the technology to use for hepatitis C monitoring.
In a recent Johns Hopkins study on emocha’s platform for TB, patients were able to achieve 92 percent average adherence for medication calculated on a dose-by-dose basis, and providers saved more than $1.400 per patient over a six month period.
Prescribers of buprenorphine for opioid use disorders, report nonadherence is a barrier to treatment. Research has also shown that about one half of persons treated with buprenorphine do not stay in maintenance treatment and it also has been found that patients treated with methadone using DOT may have better retention and outcomes.
As a result, emocha Mobile Health is looking to extend the platform for individuals undergoing home buprenorphine treatment for opioid addition. The startup looking to the future is going to develop the technology for office-based opioid treatment programs in partnership with the University of Washington, School of Medicine www.uwmedicine.org and the Boston Medical Center www.bmc.org.