Emocha, a digital health startup seeking to create more flexibility for tuberculosis patients to meet the requirements for Directly Observed Therapy, or DOT, has added a new set of customers in California as part of a national expansion.
DOT is the internationally recommended strategy for controlling tuberculosis. The relevant bit here is that a physician or nurse observes TB patients taking their medication to ensure adherence and reduce the risk of the patient developing a resistance to the drug regimen to treat their condition.
In a news release, emocha noted that Fresno County, Merced County, and Contra Costa County in California would use the company’s miDOT application for asynchronous video directly observed therapy to help manage patients’ adherence to their TB drugs. The miDOT application allows users to record themselves on a smartphone or computer taking medication and transmit that data to a physician. The product also allows them to securely share information on side effects.
In a phone interview, Managing Director Morad Elmi confirmed that each of the counties are customers and that Contra Costa County would also adopt an app emocha developed to keep a close eye on potential measles outbreaks, called Outbreak Symptoms Monitoring. The app has the flexibility to track other communicable diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome.
California Department of Health data cited in the news release indicated that nearly 2.4 million Californians — more than 6 percent of the state’s population — have latent tuberculosis infection. This group of patients pose a risk because although they are infected with the bacteria, they do not show symptoms.
In addition to California, the Baltimore-based company has customers in Texas and Maryland as well as India and Australia. Elmi said he expects the company to add at least three more states by the end of the year.
Emocha, which took part in Dreamit’s health tech accelerator cohort in Baltimore, isn’t the only company that’s developed a video selfie for medication adherence. AiCure’s approach combines video facial recognition and artificial intelligence to confirm that patients have taken their medication. While emocha has worked with county health departments, AiCure built a network of pharmaceutical companies and government institution partners to optimize treatment models.