Baltimore, MD (April 26, 2018) -- emocha Mobile Health’s video Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) platform helped patients with tuberculosis achieve 94 percent medication adherence with the potential to save public health programs $1,391 per patient on average, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published today in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. Staff and patients cited increased flexibility, convenience, and patient privacy compared to traditional treatment methods.
DOT -- the practice of watching a patient take every dose of medication -- is the standard of care for patients with tuberculosis in the U.S. and the most effective way to achieve medication adherence. However, in-person DOT can be time-consuming, costly, and burdensome for health departments and their patients. The study demonstrates that emocha’s mobile technology offers an accessible, affordable, and scalable method to secure medication adherence.
“emocha’s video DOT platform is a novel, patient-centric complement to in-person visits,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha Mobile Health. “This study confirms what our customers have been saying for years: emocha helps to ensure high rates of medication adherence, saves precious public health resources, and eases burdens for both patients and providers.”
Patients use emocha’s mobile app to video record themselves taking their medication and report any side effects or symptoms. Providers use emocha’s HIPAA-compliant web platform to review videos, assess side effects, engage with patients, and track adherence to fulfill DOT guidelines. For this study, 28 patients were enrolled and treated between March 2016 and August 2017.
The study also found that providers could observe more doses using emocha, such as those taken over a holiday or on weekends, which could shorten treatment time. Additionally, staff suggested that time saved through video DOT enabled them to spend more time on other required activities, such as contact investigations, patient counseling, and social support.
“It is critical for patients to take tuberculosis medication as prescribed, since nonadherence can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance or spread of this highly contagious and potentially deadly disease,” said Robert C. Bollinger, M.D., M.P.H., an inventor of emocha’s technology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with joint appointments in Johns Hopkins’ schools of public health and nursing. “These findings support new strategies to ensure clinically-effective and patient-centric treatment of tuberculosis.”
The study was funded by a Small Business Innovation Research grant awarded to emocha by the National Institute of Health. The analysis was conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in cooperation with three public health departments in Maryland: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Montgomery County. It is one of the most comprehensive research studies on the topic of medication adherence in tuberculosis.
emocha leverages technology licensed from Johns Hopkins University that delivers video directly observed therapy (DOT) to help people stay adherent to medication. Patients use a smartphone application to record videos of themselves taking each dose of medication and report any associated side effects. Providers assess patient data using a secure web portal and contact patients as needed. The platform is being used in public health departments, clinical trials, opioid use disorder treatment programs, hospitals, and managed care organizations to achieve high adherence rates and retain patients in care. 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.