Technotherapy—Transforming Health Relationships

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Technotherapy—Transforming Health Relationships: Open-source training & technology for long-term Virtual Recovery Care

Washington, United StatesWashington, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

When an addict leaves rehab, relapse rates are highest. Continuous long-term Recovery Care models have high success, yet are now mainly for special populations like doctors. Our open-source Virtual Recovery Care platform allows all health orgs to create a personal e-safety net for ALL who need it.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we innovated a way for recovery from addiction & other behavioral health challenges to have the same level of reliably good prognosis and care as a broken arm?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Addiction, depression and other mental illness are on the rise even as smartphones are rapidly approaching ubiquity for the global middle class. People, especially youth, often access drugs and self-destructive influences via their smartphones -- however, we lack a comprehensive, multifaceted, open Virtual Recovery Care platform where health practitioners can collaborate with patients to find and sustain long-term recovery using web & mobile.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Transforming behavior and lifestyle is the goal of Recovery Care, which takes a holistic, multifaceted approach to treating addiction and other behavioral health challenges successfully incorporating behavioral and medical health and a wide range of ongoing community supports. Long-term Recovery Care has 90+% success treating special populations like college students and medical doctors. Technotherapy's open-source Virtual Recovery Care technology platform integrates clinician training, certification and technology to implement and manage patient-specific mobile interventions. A healthcare provider can create and prescribe a completely custom app for each client to create a Virtual Recovery Care experience that bridges gaps in care.


Invited Presenter: US Dept of HHS Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration training on Transforming Care with Mobile & Web
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Ed is an addiction medicine doctor. Giving him an mHealth app to use with a client out of the blue is like handing him a paintbrush to do art therapy--he just won't because he's not trained or certified in that. With our Virtual Recovery Care platform, Ed begins with training and certification in the clinical psychology of cyberspace, and addressing ethical and practical challenges of providing continuing care via an app. Once trained in each specific capability of the app platform--text checkin, GPS, audio/video exchange, social supports, and other specific tools--it becomes available to include in the app experience he personalizes for client, who each now have a custom app for their recovery that, like their condition, is with them 24/7.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Technotherapy has developed a 3-hour pilot training on the psychology of cyberspace, ethics & practices of mHealth, and implementing Virtual Recovery Care, which as of October 2015 has been given to over 100 Washington DC area clinicians in half a dozen contexts including university, federal, clinical and association environments. Preliminary pilot participant data indicated significant improvements in clinician self-efficacy in three key areas addressed (Technology: 21%, Ethics: 23%; Psychology: 37%), and comments in response such as "overall excellent training", "very good content", "interactive and engaging", "timely and needed". In the future, this training will be tightly integrated into the app, in the context of an open platform, and will be available to as many millions of health orgs & people as would benefit. We aim above all to fill the unmet need.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Open-source training and technology in mobile behavioral health, is underfunded and far less available than it needs to be. Our key dissemination strategies involve awareness, advocacy, and accessibility. They are: - in-person training and conference presentations of Technotherapy to mHealth, open-source, and behavioral/medical health communities - online video training in areas of interest and relevance to any clinician which can be shared among clinical staff - remote and virtual platform implementation consulting and support - outreach to universities with health IT programs

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our plan is to launch a crowdfunding campaign in Q4 2015 to raise $150,000 as well as to complete pre-sales with a set of clinical partners who will be the first to implement the platform in Q3 2016. US healthcare payers are not yet reimbursing clinicians' time providing online case management and support, but as this ramps up, it will be a sizable market estimated to grow to $50Bn/year for enabling technologies. We aim to claim a chunk of this.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are 300,000 health apps on the market at last count. None we've yet found provide: a) integrated training, certification and activation of features for healthcare workers; b) a flexible, clinician-created custom experience for each client; c) a HIPAA-compliant, US-market-facing open-source solution that can be deployed in actual clinical settings; d) an open data / open science care quality-improvement & research back-end for learning rapidly from field data Together, this is a transformational context for mHealth, in an analogous way to development of Linux and Wikipedia.

Founding Story

(From Vikram:) I am a person in long-term recovery, which for me means I haven't had a drink or drug in 13 years. In 2002, I was attending Rutgers University in New Jersey, which has a comprehensive Recovery Care program for students, and I was very fortunate to be in that program until 2005, when I moved to DC. A passionate supporter of recovery community , one day in 2013, I was walking along, making a list in my head of all the people I was supporting in various ways in their recovery—as a friend, coach, sponsor, accountability partner, and so on—and by the time I got to about 12, I thought, "This is too many!... Is there an app for that?! Turns out, there wasn't! So let's just do it!


So far, the project has been spearheaded full-time by the Founder, a computer scientist and clinician-in-training, and a diverse and talented group of advisors, board members and volunteers, with senior leadership experience in social ventures, technology research and development, and health innovation. All have worked in their spare time between other work, school, family, and community commitments. Staffing won't commence until an appropriate level of long-term funding commitments are in place, which will occur either through large and long-term customer agreements, and/or support from a large grants from foundations or equity venture partners. In the meantime, we will be engaging in direct fundraising through the web. The Founder intends to continue working full-time as Executive Director to raise these funds, and the funds once raised will go toward hiring key staff including an Outreach and Training lead, Clinical lead, and Technical Operations lead and to build blended volunteer/staff teams around them . As the project is rapidly evolving, please check our website for current staffing.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

Our business model is two-fold:
a) provision of means-priced consulting services for customized development and implementation of the Technotherapy platform
b) provision and maintenance of an operating technology platform in a secure cloud Software-as-a-Service model

As a big pharma company, BI's customers have a range of specific clinical needs around medication management, clinical testing, followup appointments and behavioral supports for all of your products. Our platform, particularly for cost-sensitive and public-payer clients, provides both a practical tool to support better use of your products, as well as an exemplary corporate citizenship story to gain goodwill by supporting a revolutionary open-source platform.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Distribution Channels, Research and Development, Specific Disease Expertise, Relationships/New Contacts, Manufacturing, Marketing/Communications Support, Human Resources, Legal Support, Technology Expertise, Public Policy Knowledge, Access to Capital, Other.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

At this time, all of these areas are relevant to the challenge of development our platform, particularly in the European and global contexts. Based in Washington DC with deep relationships in Silicon Valley, our access to and capacity to engage US leaders in policy, technology, and healthcare is good. However, the nuances of healthcare markets around the world, and accompanying capital, operating strategy, support staff, localized health IT policy and technology expertise all would be a tremendous value-add.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Access to and established trust with customers/beneficiaries, Insights into pricing and financing of health products/services, Insights into marketing, Insights into distribution, Insights into behavior change, Other.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up), Remote care solutions for health management, treatment, and diagnosis.

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together
Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea
How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?
Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?
What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?
Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.
What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?
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