Research shows that people struggle to take prescription medication on a regular schedule. A mobile platform for medication adherence and patient engagement, called emocha, was licensed from Johns Hopkins and is now tackling the problem for people with opioid use disorder (OUD).
A critical component of treating OUD is medication-assisted treatment. One of the medications is buprenorphine, but many providers hesitate to prescribe it because they can’t be sure it will be taken as prescribed.
The emocha technology helps patients achieve stability during buprenorphine treatment by video recording them taking their dose each day and asking them to report side effects or symptoms. It also helps patients keep track of their appointments, and it supplies educational content. Internet connectivity is not required to use the application—everything is date and time stamped and transmitted whenever a patient connects to data or Wi-Fi.
When providers review the patients’ videos on a secure web portal, they can confirm medication adherence and address patient needs.
“If patients don’t record themselves, it’s considered a missed appointment,” says Sebastian Seiguer, co-founder and CEO of emocha Mobile Health and a Johns Hopkins alum. “An email alerts the provider, who can reach out to them to provide additional support. For those who did record themselves, the provider watches the video and verifies whether the medication was taken appropriately.”
The platform is currently being implemented as part of a National Institute on Drug Abuse Small Business Innovation Research grant at the University of Washington and Boston Medical Center.
Seiguer co-founded emocha Mobile Health with fellow Johns Hopkins alumni Morad Elmi and Gorkem Sevinc. The startup offers similar apps for the management of tuberculosis and hepatitis C treatment.