DynamiCare Health addiction recovery platform users up to three times more likely to quit substances

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Three newly published clinical trials demonstrate benefit of digital health in tobacco cessation, recovery from drugs and alcohol

DynamiCare consistently demonstrated high impact.

Results from three clinical trials on the DynamiCare Health digital addiction recovery platform show a two-to-threefold increase in quit rates across drugs, alcohol and tobacco compared to those without the smartphone app-based program. DynamiCare Health, a Boston-based digital health startup, uses motivational incentives known as contingency management to help people overcome addiction by promoting motivation and accountability.

“Addiction researchers have known about the astounding effectiveness of motivational incentives for 50 years, but lacked a way to deploy it at scale,” said David R. Gastfriend MD, addiction expert and chief medical officer at DynamiCare Health. “The results of these three robust studies demonstrate that DynamiCare can effectively deliver evidence-based interventions for substance use disorders, with greater scalability than ever before.”

All three trials—recently published in high quality peer-reviewed journals—were controlled, government-funded studies conducted by independent academic researchers. The trials used biometric outcomes (breath, saliva or urine) to test the presence of drugs, alcohol or tobacco in participants. In addition to improving abstinence outcomes, the studies found that DynamiCare improved attendance and retention in drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

In a randomized controlled trial on alcohol addiction, Johns Hopkins University researchers found that twice as many patients who received DynamiCare underwent assessments and submitted negative drug and alcohol samples at the end of treatment as those who received treatment without the digital health platform. The DynamiCare patients also showed longer retention in treatment. The study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, enrolled 61 patients in outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder at Gosnold Treatment Center in Massachusetts for a 12-week period. Due to the strong results, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded DynamiCare a $1.6M grant for an expanded trial with 300 participants, which recently launched in Vermont.

In a study led by Western Michigan University, researchers found that substance use disorder patients who received DynamiCare were 2.2 times more likely to test negative for drugs than a statistically-matched control group. Patients who used DynamiCare also showed higher rates of treatment attendance. The study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, tested DynamiCare for a 4-month period in 108 patients in outpatient treatment for substance use disorder (primarily opioids) at BrightView in Ohio. DynamiCare won a $1M prize from the State of Ohio in recognition of these results.

In a study on smoking cessation among pregnant women, University of Vermont (UVM) researchers found that pregnant women receiving DynamiCare were 2.8 times more likely to quit smoking by the end of their pregnancy than a control group. The pilot study, published in Preventive Medicine, remotely recruited 60 pregnant smokers nationwide and followed them through pregnancy to 24-weeks postpartum. The UVM researchers are now conducting an expanded version of the study with 120 participants.

“These studies light the way to the future of contingency management intervention,” said Anthony DeFulio, PhD, associate professor at Western Michigan University and lead author of one of the studies. “What’s remarkable is how varied the populations were, with patients on Medicaid and commercial insurance, in-treatment and out-of-treatment, and spanning 33 states — yet DynamiCare consistently demonstrated high impact.”

The DynamiCare digital platform reinforces a person’s recovery from addiction by offering random breath and saliva tests conveniently through their phone; treatment attendance check-ins verified by GPS; supportive telehealth recovery coaching; and financial rewards for healthy progress via a smart debit card that blocks cash withdrawals, bars and liquor stores.

The studies varied in their use of DynamiCare’s features, but all three studies included the use of motivational incentives, known as contingency management, which has been recommended by the NIH, U.S. Surgeon General and The American Society of Addiction Medicine, and validated in over 100 randomized controlled trials.

DynamiCare Health is a technology platform for addressing substance use and rewarding healthy behavior. The platform automates contingency management, an evidence-based methodology that has been demonstrated to be effective in over 100 randomized controlled trials. Through encouragement and accountability, DynamiCare members achieve healthy goals with drugs, opioids, alcohol, and tobacco. DynamiCare Health was founded in 2016 by ​Eric Gastfriend, Harvard MBA tech executive, and his father, ​David R. Gastfriend, MD​, an international expert in addiction psychiatry. For more information, visit http://www.dynamicarehealth.com.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43AA026234. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

DeFulio A, Rzeszutek MJ, Furgeson J, Ryan S, Rezania S. A smartphone-smartcard platform for contingency management in an inner-city substance use disorder outpatient program. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 2021;120:108188. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2020.108188

Kurti AN, Tang K, Bolivar HA, et al. Smartphone-based financial incentives to promote smoking cessation during pregnancy: A pilot study. Preventive Medicine. Published online July 2020:106201. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106201

Hammond A, Sweeney MM, Chikosi TU, Stitzer ML. Digital delivery of a contingency management intervention for substance use disorder: A feasibility study with DynamiCare Health. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 2021. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108425

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