iTether Proving it’s Worth – Transforming Care for Pregnant Women with Substance Use Disorder

by Chelsea Canto

February 17, 2019

iTether Technologies, provider of application development for behavioral change services, wins Phase 1 of Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms, a Grand Challenge created by The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). 

Phase 1 winners were chosen based on 5 main criteria: Accessibility – How accessible is the innovation to the population of focus and across social, cultural, and environmental factors; Sustainability – How encouraging is it to use and how well does it fit into daily life; Impact – How well does the applicant present a theory of change; Innovation – How likely is the proposed solution to succeed; and lastly, the overall projects potential in the remaining phases of the challenge. 

iTether Technologiesdelivers a comprehensive care management solution that extends care beyond the clinic and drives data-driven decisions across the continuum of care. The purpose is to continuously engage patients (in this case, perinatal women with OUD) with multiple care professionals to coordinate treatment with personalized recovery goals for successful delivery and post-natal care for the baby and mother. With a flexible, easy to use mobile application, iTether supports the patients control over her treatment with features such as calendaring and events, reminders, patient-provider messaging, educational resources and social determinants of health, and social media support systems. 

The death rate from opioid overdoses among women is dramatically increasing, and furthermore, so is the chance of a baby being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). In 2018 alone, 1,443 babies were born with NAS. These women and their prospective children are part of a national crisis of chronic and complex physical and mental health challenges that needs to be better addressed. HRSA’s goal with this challenge is to support innovative technology-based solutions that improve access to quality health care for pregnant and new mothers struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). The challenge entrants included multidisciplinary teams of academics, health professionals, technology companies, IT designers, as well as individuals, community groups, and startups. 

As a Phase 1 winner, iTetherwill receive a share of $100,000 cash prize and continue to Phase 2, where they will develop their prototype and begin small-scale testing through August 2019. For more information about HRSA’s challenge, visit Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms.

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