This mobile app seeks to revolutionize substance abuse treatment: 7 things to know

Substance abuse programs in Meriden and Old Saybrook, Conn., are piloting a new mobile app named TryCyle, which seeks to reduce patient relapses and opioid-related overdoses by creating what the app's co-founder calls a "Digital Tether," according to the Harford Courant.

Here are seven things to know:

1. TryCycle is designed to change the ways therapists and psychologists connect with their patients between scheduled visits. By using real-time data, clinicians can help in times crisis, building stronger patient relationships.

2. The co-founders are John MacBeth a Canadian software developer, and Ken House, former reporter and publicist for the HAI Group. They wanted to create a platform that changes the traditional patient-physician dynamic, which does not fit the needs of patients with substance use disorder.

3. The TryCycle app presents patients with a series of short questions, where they rank their mood swings, hunger, loneliness, happiness and anger on a 1 to 9 scale. TryCycle can capture the user's location and prompts a brief description of what they're doing at the moment.

4. With this information, data analytics and IBM artificial intelligence software presents the clinician with a dashboard setup, labeling patients by their risk of relapse, while simultaneously adding insight on the patient's recovery.

5. TryCycle also alerts clinicians to when a patient's risk level is about to spike, giving clinicians the ability to analyze the situation and then reach out.

6. So far, TryCycle is piloting the app with Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare and Project Courage, a substance abuse clinic based in Old Saybrook. At present, 30 patients are using TryCycle, but Hartford Healthcare plans on rolling out the pilot to several hundred people. 

7. TryCycle cost health systems $75 a month per patient.

"We don't want the patient to have to own the burden of the system," Mr. MacBeth told Harford Courant. "Opioids have left a lot of people destitute. Could you live with yourself if you had a person who had to choose between food and software?"

More articles on opioids: 

Marijuana in the hospital environment
Authorities seize 750 fentanyl pumps from Louisiana home
Meet the West Virginia lawyer overseeing 400+ opioid lawsuits against drugmakers, distributors

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