BALTIMORE ‑ Medication adherence startup emocha Mobile Health has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research award by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to demonstrate the feasibility of video directly-observed-therapy (DOT) for patients undergoing the initiation phase of buprenorphine treatment through office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) programs.
The company will be developing the technology for partnerships with the University of Washington School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center.
“This project with emocha will allow us as clinicians and researchers to examine a new platform that has potential to expand our medicine bag with a technological aid that helps patients achieve a successful recovery,” said Dr. Jeffrey Samet, chief of general internal medicine at Boston Medical Center, in a statement.
Through the NIH Fast-Track mechanism, the Phase 1 award will total $225,000, with an additional $1.5 million for Phase 2 granted upon achieving milestones.
Outcomes of interest will include adherence, retention in care, measures of illicit opioid use and abstinence, and medication diversion.
emocha’s video-based DOT technology is used in several public health departments monitoring TB patients and those with hepatitis C. In a recent Johns Hopkins study of emocha’s platform for TB, patients achieved 92% average adherence to medication.
“I am excited for this opportunity to partner with emocha to learn if this new technology can support patients who are engaging in treatment for opioid use disorders with buprenorphine,” said Dr. Judith Tsui an associate professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine, in a statement.