Fort Bend joins other Texas counties in using innovative technology for patients with tuberculosis
emocha, a mobile health company, launched its video Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) medication adherence technology with Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. The county will use emocha to improve patient outcomes and efficiently use resources by bridging the distance between its healthcare workers and patients with tuberculosis (TB).
“We are proud to partner with Fort Bend County to help ensure medication adherence in an easier, more accessible manner,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha. “emocha’s platform is driven by the critical ingredient that makes DOT successful: human interaction. Technology-enabled engagement between the patient and the provider helps to retain patients in care so that they can get better, faster.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traditional in-person DOT is the gold standard for TB care, but it requires a healthcare worker to observe a patient taking their medication in person every day for six months or longer. This is costly and burdensome for health providers and patients.With emocha, patients with TB in Fort Bend County use a mobile application on their smartphone to video record medication ingestion, report side effects, and receive medication reminders. Fort Bend County healthcare workers can assess data collected by emocha on a secure web portal, engage with patients through the application to provide additional support, and intervene quickly in the case of medication non-adherence or reported symptoms and side-effects.
“Using emocha’s video DOT will allow us to help people with TB get well, protect the health of the community and use our resources in the most efficient manner possible,” said Kaye Reynolds, Deputy Director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. “Using mobile technology will let us treat more patients while making sure that all prescribed doses of medicine are taken throughout the long course of treatment.”
Other Texas jurisdictions using emocha’s video DOT platform include Galveston, Harris and Collin counties. Approximately 1,250 cases of tuberculosis were reported in Texas in 2016, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
Harris County Public Health has leveraged emocha’s video DOT platform to monitor patients with tuberculosis for approximately three years. Harris County covers nearly 1,800 square miles surrounding Houston, is the third-largest county in the country, and has one of the nation’s highest tuberculosis rates. Recently, the area was devastated during Hurricane Harvey and — despite severe flooding — patients using emocha were able to continue their treatment. Reported adherence rates remained extremely high — all but two of 60 patients continued their medication uninterrupted.
emocha’s mobile video DOT platform is currently used by health departments around the world and has proven effective for treatment of TB in a National Institutes of Health-funded study by Johns Hopkins University. In addition to use in TB, emocha’s mobile technology has been deployed across the country for a variety of serious public health challenges, including treating hepatitis C, HIV, and opioid use disorder.
About emocha Mobile Health
emocha empowers every patient to take every dose of medication through video technology and scalable human engagement. Patients use a smartphone application to video record themselves taking their medication. Providers or emocha Adherence Coaches use a secure web portal to assess adherence and engage with patients. The platform is being used by public health departments, clinical trials, hospitals, health centers, and managed care organizations to radically improve medication adherence for patients with tuberculosis, opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, diabetes, and other chronic and infectious diseases. Learn more at www.emocha.com.
National Institutes of Health Statement
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43MD010521. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.