Q2i Awarded NIH/NIDA Grant to Develop and Evaluate Loyalty/Reward-based Digital Technology to Increase Medication Adherence for Substance Use Disorder after an ED Visit

BOSTON, Oct. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Q2i, a provider of technology that helps improve the availability and success of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD), today announced they have been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to develop and evaluate a solution that incorporates the systematic delivery of tangible rewards for positive behaviors such as a patient’s adherence to his or her MAT treatment plan. This type of reward-based approach, referred to as “contingency management”, improves substance use treatment outcomes.

Q2i, in conjunction with their academic partners for this project, UMASS and UCONN, is utilizing Q2i’s OARS technology with a cutting-edge contingency management component that seeks to optimize MAT-related adherence for patients by delivering rewards for adherence entirely via the patient’s phone. This will bridge treatment and the “real world”, which may improve outcomes.

MAT is the use of FDA-approved medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine or naloxone, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of OUD. MAT is highly efficacious for reducing opioid use.

Q2i’s technology comprises a healthcare team portal and a patient mobile application. It improves the success of MAT programs by providing real-time insight, analytics and trend analysis, and improved connection and support between healthcare teams and their patients.

Increasing the demand and reach of effective MAT for OUD is critical to decreasing OUD-associated morbidity, mortality, and economic consequences. The technology breakthrough to be studied in this project will see individuals with OUD given access to a smartphone application. The app is designed to help support initiation and adherence to MAT regimens through patient-oriented educational and monitoring features, as well as a new reward program based on other research, demonstrating that contingency management promotes treatment adherence, and improves abstinence and other health outcomes. The intervention will aim to facilitate the entire treatment trajectory, starting with the initial transition from an acute care setting to initiating outpatient MAT, and continuing through successful transition to maintenance in MAT.

Dr. Edwin Boudreaux, Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and Quantitative Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts Medical School, who is leading the research said: “This new game-changing approach blends the strengths from many different areas, from creating engaging user experiences to implementing the latest in evidence-based treatments. And the new app is unique in helping support the full transition of care from initial identification in ERs and hospitals all the way to continued adherence in outpatient MAT.”

Dr. Sheila Alessi, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and the Calhoun Cardiology Center – Behavioral Health division at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, who is an expert in the science of contingency management and is a co-investigator, said: “MAT is highly effective. There is also much room for improvement in linking people who could benefit from MAT to care and supporting continued engagement in that care. This project takes direct aim at this problem with an innovative software platform and tools to more fully support treatment linkage and engagement, and it builds out that solution to include patient-centered motivational incentives. Studies show that carefully-applied incentives awarded for meeting specific goal behaviors is one of the most powerful techniques we have to improve substance-use disorder outcomes. This combined state-of-the-science approach has great potential to benefit patients along the continuum of care.”

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