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Mecklenburg County, NC, First in State to Use New Technology for Tuberculosis

Mecklenburg County Public Health leverages asynchronous video technology to support people in treatment for tuberculosis

patient uses mobile app to take medication
Mecklenburg County Public Health is the first in North Carolina to adopt new technology to support people with TB.

BALTIMORE, Md. (April 4, 2019) -- emocha Mobile Health today announced that the Mecklenburg County Public Health is the first in North Carolina to adopt new technology to support people in treatment for tuberculosis (TB). The County will use emocha’s video Directly Observed Therapy platform to connect public health staff with patients to empower them to take every dose of medication throughout the course of their TB treatment.

“It is an honor to work with innovators like the team in Mecklenburg County who see the value of using technology to provide patient-centric care for people with TB,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha Mobile Health. “This platform makes treatment for TB more convenient for patients and providers while fostering relationships and deepening engagement between them.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most effective strategy to ensure adherence to treatment is Directly Observed Therapy (DOT), which is the practice of watching a patient take every dose of medication. DOT is the standard of care for TB treatment in the United States, but the practice can be burdensome for both patients and public health departments. When DOT is exclusively in-person, patients need to travel to the public health clinic, or community health workers need to travel to the patient’s home or work for daily appointments for at least six months.

With emocha, some people with TB in Mecklenburg County will be eligible to use a HIPAA-compliant mobile application on their smartphone to video record themselves taking their medication, report side effects, and receive medication reminders. The app securely protects all personal and health information. Mecklenburg County healthcare workers can assess data collected by emocha on a secure web portal, engage with patients through the application to provide additional support, and intervene quickly in the case of medication nonadherence or reported symptoms and side effects.

Research shows that emocha’s video DOT saves precious public health resources, helps to ensure that people with tuberculosis complete treatment, and eases burdens for both patients and providers. An NIH-funded study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers found that emocha saved public health departments approximately $1,400 per patient over a standard six-month tuberculosis regimen when compared to in-person DOT. Additionally, patients using emocha achieved 94 percent medication adherence on average -- making its effectiveness comparable to in-person DOT.

There were 34 cases of TB in Mecklenburg County in 2017 -- the highest in the state. In total, North Carolina experienced 213 TB cases in 2017. Approximately 9,000 TB cases were reported in the U.S. in 2017. TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease and caused 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. As the recent United Nations High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis highlighted, adopting new technologies and approaches to delivering high-quality care is critical to end TB.

“This technology allows us to provide innovative patient-centered care while protecting public health,” said Dr. Meg Sullivan, Mecklenburg County Public Health Medical Director. “In the future, we see opportunities to use technology like emocha’s for patients across a variety of health conditions to ensure that they are supported and successful in treatment.”

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 their medication. Providers or emocha Adherence Coaches use a secure web portal to assess adherence and engage with patients. The platform is being used by public health departments, clinical trials, hospitals, health centers, and managed care organizations 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 Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43MD010521. 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