The statistics around substance abuse disorder in the U.S. are grim. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health roughly 20 million Americans 12 years and older suffer from addiction.
Those numbers have been compounded by the opioid epidemic and a shortage of qualified treatment providers. Some entrepreneurs have been pitching technology as a way to bridge the gap.
One example is DynamiCare Health, which is launching its addiction recovery technology platform in the consumer market with the help of $4.1 million in seed funding from investors including Hyperplane Venture Capital and former U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.
DynamiCare was founded in 2016 by the father-and-son team of Eric and David Gastfriend who serve as the company’s CEO and chief medical officer, respectively. David Gastfriend is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction recovery and previously was the CEO of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute.
The new capital will be used to build out the company’s telehealth recovery coaching service which allows for personalization of treatment plans and more consistent follow-up and support. DynamiCare’s platform, which is currently being used at seven addiction treatment centers, is also being made available directly to consumers.
The Boston-based startup provides technology services that support existing addiction treatment programs such as smartphone-based breath and saliva tests, treatment check-ins and a smart debit card which can be funded with rewards for healthy behavior, but blocks cash withdrawals and spending at bars.
DynamiCare’s technology also has a predictive analytics component that can alert treatment providers and family members in the case of a high-risk event.
“Fusing proven interventions with readily accessible technology is allowing us to bring effective recovery tools directly to the people who need it and fill a noticeable gap in the addiction space,” Eric Gastfriend said in a statement.
DynamiCare’s approach is based on a behavioral therapy called Contingency Management, which uses positive reinforcement to change behavior. The company’s methodology links its financial incentives with evidence of recovery including appointment attendance and clean breathalyzer tests.
“DynamiCare Health offers the kind of innovation the recovery community desperately needs. Evidence-based, affordable behavioral intervention is out of reach for far too many people,” Kennedy said in a statement. “DynamiCare’s platform offers an easily accessible option for payers, employers, families and individuals to work together to help a person achieve sustained recovery.”
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