BALTIMORE, Md. (May 30, 2019) -- emocha Mobile Health announced today that the Orange County Health Care Agency is adopting new technology to support patients with tuberculosis (TB). The county will use emocha’s video Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) platform to connect public health staff members with patients in treatment to ensure that every dose is taken correctly. The county joins eight others in California that use emocha’s platform, making it the state with the greatest number of patients supported with this mobile health app.
“DOT is the most successful strategy for medication adherence because of the relationship that is established between the patient and their care team,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha Mobile Health. “emocha preserves this relationship, and we are honored that Orange County Health Care Agency will use the platform to provide patient-centric care in their communities.”
DOT is the practice of watching a patient take every dose of medication. It is endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is the standard of care for TB treatment in the United States. Prior to the adoption of this new technology, patients with TB had to receive their medication via daily visit to or through an in-home visit from the health department. Conducting their DOT through emocha’s asynchronous mobile app helps patients to complete their treatment more conveniently.
With emocha, patients with TB in Orange County may 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. They will also have access to two-way, HIPAA-secure messaging to communicate with their healthcare provider. County healthcare workers can assess the data collected on the secure emocha web portal, engage directly with their patients, and intervene swiftly in the event of reported symptoms, side effects, or medication nonadherence.
emocha’s video DOT platform saves public health resources and eases burdens for both patients and providers. An NIH-funded study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University found that emocha saved public health departments an average of $1,400 per patient over a standard six-month TB regimen. Patients using emocha also achieved 94 percent medication adherence, on average.
In 2018, total of 9,029 new TB cases were reported across the U.S. TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease, causing 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2017. In California, there were 2,091 cases in 2018, of which 182 were in Orange County. The United Nations recently approved a political declaration that called for an increased use of technology to help end TB across the globe.
New billing policies indicate that these types of daily interactions with patients through technology would be beneficial for patients who have conditions other than TB. For example, Medi-Cal and Medicare recently recognized new codes that reimburse providers for their time reviewing pre-recorded videos and images sent by their patients. Providers can be reimbursed for a five-minute encounter and follow-up with the patient.
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.