Q2i Awarded NIH/NIDA Grant to Develop and Evaluate Digital Technology to Improve Medication-Assisted Treatment in Primary Care

BOSTON, Jan. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Q2i, a provider of digital health technology that helps improve the availability and success of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), today announced they have been awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant is part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, launched in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management.

UCLA is Q2i’s academic partner for this project leading the research to test optimization and evaluation of Q2i’s digital health technology, OARS. The aim is to increase the availability of MOUD, specifically Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone), initiation and adherence, and ultimately opioid abstinence, in primary care settings.

MOUD involves 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. MOUD is highly efficacious for reducing opioid use, but is limited by the number of providers who treat patients, particularly in primary care settings.

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

Dr. Steven Shoptaw, who is leading the research at UCLA said – “OARS interacts with the electronic health record to support primary care providers and their patients to improve outcomes for MOUD. If effective, the OARS tool will increase access for patients, increase the number of providers who provide MOUD, and ultimately increase the use of treatment to address the current opioid epidemic.”

Steven Jenkins, CEO of Q2i said “OARS is an existing Q2i technology that has been in development and early-stage use for over three years. Preliminary feedback from patients and providers indicates improved provider experience, high levels of patient engagement, greater adherence to treatment plans, and increased program retention/reduced drop out. We are delighted with the opportunity to work with UCLA to enhance and further develop OARS to the specific needs of primary care clinicians.” 

Phase 1 of the research study will include heath organizations in New Hampshire. According to NIH, New Hampshire is among the top five states with the highest rate of opioid-involved deaths, with more than twice the average national rate in 2017.

“These funds provide a much needed investment into efforts to transition existing medical research from the laboratory to the treatment centers, and develop new, cutting-edge methods to treat opioid addiction and put patients on the road to recovery,” said NH Senator Shaheen.

“Combating the devastating opioid epidemic in our state requires innovative approaches to treatment, prevention, and recovery – and that’s exactly why these federal grants are critical,” said NH Senator Hassan.

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