BOSTON, July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Q2i, a provider of digital health technology, announced today that they have been granted NIH approval to move their Opioid Addiction Recovery Support – Contingency Management (OARS-CM) software application to a Phase II clinical trial. In Phase II, OARS-CM will expand access to Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) by streamlining Emergency Department MOUD-initiation and connection to community-based providers.
According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year — a record number that reflects a rise of nearly 30% from 2019.
Dr. Matilde Castiel, Commissioner of Health and Human Services for the City of Worcester - site of the Phase I trial, said, "The coronavirus pandemic laid bare the truth that we are still facing an opioid crisis of epic proportions. We are seeing increasing overdoses both nationally and here in Massachusetts, and as the CDC recently reported, drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed during the pandemic. The technology being pursued by Q2i and UMass Medical Center is another much-needed tool in the toolbox to help us work with people suffering from addiction. We need to be able not just to treat folks during their initial overdose, but to connect them with services and help them successfully complete treatment. I applaud Q2i and UMass for the work they are doing to help save lives."
Q2i's OARS-CM technology is comprised of a healthcare team portal and a patient mobile application. It improves the success of MOUD programs by providing real-time insight, analytics, trend analysis, and enhanced connections and support between healthcare teams and their patients. This technology is designed to increase patient engagement, program adherence, MOUD program accessibility, as well as increasing treatment retention.
OARS-CM includes a contingency management aspect that systematically delivers tangible monetary-based rewards for positive behaviors such as a patient's initiation and adherence to their MOUD treatment plan. Contingency management's reward-based approach has been proven to improve substance use treatment outcomes.
MOUD 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; proven to be highly effective for reducing opioid use.
UMASS Medical School and UCONN School of Medicine are Q2i's academic partners for this project with Dr. Edwin Boudreaux of UMASS leading the research team that is evaluating the OARS-CM software application. Dr. Boudreaux said, "We know that contingency management approaches are one of the most important and effective tools for improving recovery from opioid addiction but there are huge barriers that prevent it from being adopted in widespread practice. Q2i's technology seeks to address those barriers to accelerate delivery of this highly effective treatment in a way that is seamless and integrated with clinic workflow."
Dr. Sheila Alessi, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and the Calhoun Cardiology Center – Behavioral Health division at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, is an expert in the science of contingency management and a co-investigator in this trial added. "There is overwhelming evidence that contingency management improves outcomes for individuals in treatment for OUD. Importantly, obstacles around delivering contingency management as part of comprehensive treatment for OUD are coming down. This new Q2i technology steps in with a platform designed to integrate contingency management into busy clinical settings so that patients may benefit".