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Addiction Recovery Aided by Texting Technology
A recent study showed that SMS text messaging technology created by Epharmix has assisted medical patients in addiction recovery for opioid use disorders.
"We have focused and continue to focus on chronic conditions and opioid dependence is a chronic condition," Epharmix CEO Blake Marggraff said. "It's different from depression, which might have a different trigger than a doctor prescribing pills, but doesn't make it any less of a clinical condition."
Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services suggests opioid-related overdose deaths are rising in the state.
Marggraff believes that technology may be a potential way to assist physicians and their patients with substance use disorders.
"You need to leverage technology that lets clinicians do their jobs, which is fundamentally different from saying that technology should replace or displace clinical talent—I don't believe that at all. It almost gives care managers a superpower."
EpxSubstanceUse allows communication to be streamlined between care managers and patients. A doctor prescribes EpxSubstanceUse, which then texts the patient questions about their substance use. Based on their risk factor, a patient's care manager can call him or her to set up a follow-up appointment or provide support.
"[We] let the technology do the grunt work of connecting with the patient," he said. "At the same time, the patient feels as if he or she has the best care manager. You feel attended to. You feel as though there is always access to your care team if and when you need it."
A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant helped Epharmix implement EpxSubstanceUse for St. Louis' Preferred Family Healthcare's (PFH) Technology Assisted Care Coordination project. The clinical study featured 21 PFH patients. By the end of the study, 12 percent of responders reported use, while 50 percent reported non-use.
Epharmix is building relationships with nationwide healthcare to help address the opioid crisis.