The current opioid addiction crisis in the US has increasingly grown over the years. Over 100,000 drug overdoses were listed in North America in 2020; almost 76,000 of these overdoses were caused by opioids. In just one year, the death toll rose approximately 30%. Opioid abuse has rapidly evolved from painkiller prescriptions to an increasingly trafficked drug that’s being taken illegally, creating more accessibility to the drug and ultimately increasing the chance of overdosing.
Fortunately, the opioid crisis has recieved over $9 billion in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and local communities in order to aid in the fight against the crisis. The CDC has also committed to help fight the opioid crisis and support communities with funding, with the epide,ic having prompted the CDC to an agreement (OD2A) that will give 47 states funding for their health departments. To spotlight the huge leap technology has made in combating the crisis, we want to emphasize the impact HealthTech companies across the world have made in aiding the fight against opioid overdose.
The Current State of Opioid Addiction
The addiction and misuse of opioids has become a national crisis that has affected the social and economic welfare of the public. The economic burden of the misuse of opioids has been estimated at $78.5 billion a year by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The average age in the U.S. that has been affected from the crisis is particularly around the working ages of 25-54. These severely high numbers have had direct impacts on the entire U.S. economy in some way, from a rise in healthcare costs, a decrease in productivity, an increase in addiction treatment, and a surge in the need for criminal justice involvement.
Opioid addiction has no preference and affects people from all walks of life. However, people living in a lower-income region are especially vulnerable to addiction and are less likely to have the access to life saving treatments. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, people on Medicaid are also more likely to be prescribed opioids at higher doses and for longer durations.
Ultimately, the need for solutions to help aid the opioid crisis remains at an all-time high. However, the national attention that the movement has gained over the past few years has resulted in the evolution of new companies providing innovative products and services to help people access the care needed.
How HealthTech’s Are Providing Solutions
The HealthTech sector has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. There are an abundance of startups and scaling companies whose mission is to bring innovation to the healthcare system through technology, and there’s a significant opportunity for these HealthTech’s to improve the standard of care for opioid use disorders.
Several HealthTech companies are mixing different methods for providing care to their consumers. There are a number of players who are completely waiving the need for in-person care and pursuing a strictly virtual model for treatment. Additionally,, a larger portion of digital health providers are taking a combined approach to healthcare; using mobile apps to connect their users to educational materials, support groups, treatment facilities and virtual guides.
As the escalation of the opioid epidemic continues, healthcare providers are looking to create innovative solutions to prevent and identify the misuse and abuse of opioids by their patients pre-addiction
Prescription drug monitoring programs, for example, are being integrated so that providers can check prescription history to avoid possible opioid abuse. Smartphone apps are being established to provide quick access to individuals in need of help recovering. Telehealth is helping expand access to treatment services by offering remote care through voice calls between doctors and patients. So, who are the companies offering disruptive healthcare solutions to tackle the opioid crisis?
Four HealthTech’s Tackling The Opioid Crisis
Halcyon was founded in 2019 and has created a virtual program that has spotlighted addiction care. The personalized platform gives it users the ability to incorporate the program into their everyday lives, with recovery plans that’re built around each member’s needs, meaning no two users will have the same experience. Ultimately, the app focuses on your overall wellbeing, mental health, recovery coaching, and medication treatment.
Boulder care was founded in 2017 and has become one of the leading telehealth providers for treatment and support of people with substance abuse troubles. They have completely kicked waiting rooms and clinical care to the side., and their treatment is brought exclusively through video visits and in-app messaging through the app. The platform also includes peer coaches, support teams, and medical advice making the recovery process more self-paced and is built to support clients goals.
WEconnect Health Management
WEconnect was founded in 2015 with a focus on long-term opioid recovery. The tool was designed to support recovering addicts and improve their way of living. The app provides access to meetings, ability to schedule daily routines, and a progress tracking system and also helps the recovery process by offering rewards such as gift cards for completing activities and meeting goals.
Ophelia was founded in 2019 primarily to provide medication and support for those aiming to quit opioids. The HealthTech was designed to eliminate the stigmas of rehabs, and provide resources and services based on science. Ophelia prioritizes making sure the clients are getting the treatment they need on their own time, and on their own terms.
The Future of HealthTech and Opioid Addiction
In the years to come, patients will start to expect the same access to on-demand care as they experience with other app-based services. Barriers and stigmas associated with addiction recovery will decrease through more discrete methods of receiving treatment. Removing the social repercussions of getting help publicly due to addiction will also help aid in less cases of addiction and relapses. To bring about better access, and help reduce opioid abuse, a radical improvement in accessibility and technology within healthcare is urgently needed. Fortunately, technology’s role in addiction recovery is only growing. Mobile apps, in particular, are playing a huge role in helping people to progress within their path to recovery, and ultimately, there is a huge opportunity for HealthTech’s to cater to the underserved groups of people that struggle with opioids.
At Storm3 We specialize in global HealthTech recruitment, connecting organizations with the talent to drive their mission. If you are a candidate looking to make a difference, or if you’re a startup or scale up looking to grow your team, get in touch with our team of expert consultants today!