BOSTON, Feb. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Q2i, a provider of digital health technology, announced today that they have been granted NIH approval to move their OARS software application to a Phase II clinical trial. This comes after a successful Phase I trial and with over 1000 patients it's the largest trial of its kind in the country.
Q2i's OARS technology is comprised of a healthcare team portal and a patient mobile application. It improves the success of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs by providing real-time insight, analytics and trend analysis, and improves connection and support between healthcare teams and their patients. OARS is designed to increase patient engagement, program adherence, and MAT program availability as well as increasing treatment retention.
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 Opioid Use Disorder (OUD); it has proven to be highly effective for reducing opioid use.
UCLA is Q2i's academic partner for this project with Dr. Steven Shoptaw leading the research team that is evaluating the OARS software application. Dr. Shoptaw said, "The availability and access gap for OUD patients seeking treatment is a real issue that needs addressing. Equipping and empowering primary care providers and their healthcare organizations with technology that both connects with and extends their EHR, could be key to increasing patients' abilities to start and retain in MAT. A specialized application may improve patient engagement and treatment retention compared to today's generic EHR patient portals, where SUD patient uptake is low and retention is even worse."
The Write Center for Community Health in Pennsylvania was one of the study sites in Phase I and is also a study site for Phase II. Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, CEO said, "We found OARS very easy to use and extremely valuable. The software provides actionable data, insight, and decision support for our primary care clinicians. Most importantly, OARS confidentially enables better direct connection to, and empowering support of, our patients in recovery from OUD."
According to recent provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths are accelerating during COVID-19. Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. While overdose deaths were already increasing in the months preceding the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the latest numbers suggest an acceleration of overdose deaths during the pandemic.
"The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard," said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D. "As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it's important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences."
Steven Jenkins, Q2i's CEO added, "We are delighted with being granted approval from NIH to transition to Phase II. For people struggling with opioid use disorder, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges at every turn. Now more than ever patients and providers need better solutions that improve connection and support, including remote care. There are many useful tools in OARS such as secure messaging and telehealth capabilities that enable providers to manage some areas of OUD treatment virtually, enabling them to reach more patients to help them access the care that they need."