Louisiana FQHC Adopts New Technology for Opioid Use Disorder

Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority leverages asynchronous video technology to support patients with substance use disorder

community support
JeffCare, a federally qualified health center in Louisiana and a program of Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority, will implement the company’s asynchronous video technology

BALTIMORE, Md. (June 13, 2019) – emocha Mobile Health announced today that JeffCare, a federally qualified health center in Louisiana and a program of Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority, will implement the company’s asynchronous video technology to help support individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). In utilizing emocha’s video Directly Observed Therapy platform, staff and clinicians will have a streamlined way to communicate with patients, empowering them to take each dose of medication throughout their treatment.

"emocha’s video technology can improve access to medication assisted therapy—allowing providers to engage with patients at critical moments during treatment. This should ultimately lead to better outcomes and fewer overdoses," said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO at emocha. "We are proud to partner with JeffCare to address this public health epidemic in Jefferson Parish.”

Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that approximately 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose, yet only 20 percent of the nearly 2.1 million people in the U.S. with OUD are in treatment. The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s office reported 172 drug overdose deaths in the parish in 2018 alone.

With emocha, patients use the HIPAA-compliant mobile application to video-record buprenorphine ingestion, report side effects, access local resources, receive medication reminders, and report recovery progress. Healthcare workers at JeffCare can then assess and evaluate data through a secure web portal, engage with patients through the application to provide additional support, and potentially intervene if side effects or nonadherence are reported.

Because concerns surrounding adherence represent a significant barrier to prescribing buprenorphine, the platform assures providers that patients are supported and successful in treatment. The app immediately notifies healthcare workers when the patient requires further assistance or intervention. Medication-assisted treatment combined with behavioral counseling creates a “whole patient” approach that is known to be effective in treating OUD. Employing the emocha technology can prevent fatal overdoses by enabling more patients to receive treatment for substance use disorder. Moreover, research has demonstrated that emocha’s video DOT can help save staff time and money.

emocha continues to grow its OUD-focused programs and backed by academic research across the country. emocha has partnered with researchers at the University of Washington and Boston Medical Center to assess its medication adherence platform for patients that receive buprenorphine treatment for OUD. The research is part of a $1.7 million award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which approved emocha’s plan to begin a second phase of research earlier this year. A recent publication by partners at the University of Washington highlights how emocha’s video directly observed therapy helps build trust between providers and patients seeking treatment in office-based settings. The platform is also supporting patients with OUD in research projects funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute into the effectiveness of providing financial incentives to patients who adhere to buprenorphine treatment.

Recent policy updates support innovative solutions that leverage technology to address the opioid crisis. The president declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act removed barriers to telehealth for opioid use disorder treatment, and Medicare recently approved reimbursement codes for reviewing recorded patient videos and images. Technology can help patients remain in treatment, and provide real-time insights into their adherence to a treatment plan.

“We welcome technology that will help us be more effective and lower costs,” says Thomas A. Hauth, M.D., Medical Director of Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority. “emocha’s technology tackles a challenging problem through innovation, and ensures patients are supported throughout the process.”

About emocha Mobile Health

emocha empowers every patient to take every dose of medication through video technology and scalable human engagement. Patients use a smartphone application to video record themselves taking medication, while providers or emocha Adherence Coaches use a secure web portal to assess compliance and engage with patients. The platform is being used by public health departments, hospitals, health centers, and managed care organizations across the globe to radically improve medication adherence for patients with tuberculosis, opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, diabetes, and other chronic and infectious diseases. Learn more at www.emocha.com.

National Institutes of Health Statement

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44DA044053. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Contact: Michelle Mendes | email: mmendes@emocha.com | phone: 410.928.4016