Press Release

emocha Secures Funding from National Institutes of Health to Deploy and Test Digital Medication Adherence Platform to Transplant Recipients

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Jan 26, 2021

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emocha granted an additional $1.5M to help kidney and liver transplant recipients, bringing their NIH funding to a total of $6.1M since 2016

Baltimore, MD, January 26, 2021 — emocha Health, the leading digital medication adherence platform that serves over 450 public health departments nationwide, has secured a total of $6.1M in funding from the National Institutes of Health. The most recent round of funding from the National Institute on Diabetes and Digestives and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the NIH, includes a randomized clinical trial with the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Miami, and the University of Virginia to evaluate emocha’s medication adherence platform. This funding will enable researchers to evaluate whether the use of video-based Directly Observed Therapy may improve immunosuppressive therapy adherence among kidney and liver transplant recipients.

“Taking medication consistently and at the right time is critical for transplant recipients in order to avoid debilitating and devastating consequences, which can include rejection, failure, or even death,” said Sebastian Seiguer, CEO of emocha. “We know that patients face numerous challenges post-transplant, and are excited for the opportunity to partner with leaders in the field, expand our work with transplant centers, and support patients.”

The research is the evolution of a Discovery Award received by the Hopkins transplant team in 2018 to examine the use of emocha in transplant recipients. Led by the JHU Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation (ERGOT), the 10-patient video DOT pilot provided preliminary data for the SBIR award. The NIH funding has enabled emocha to augment and enhance its semi-automated patient engagement technology, including development of medication-specific messaging and video content tailored for kidney and liver transplant.

Approximately 21,000 kidney and 8,250 liver transplants were completed in 2018. To facilitate successful transplantation, patients must carefully adhere to immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) medication regimens. Yet clinical studies indicate that more than a quarter of kidney transplant recipients are nonadherent, with nonadherence leading to graft failure and organ rejection. Among liver transplant recipients, nonadherence has been reported to range from 15 to 40 percent, resulting in episodes that require acute hospitalization, and in some cases retransplantation. This can result in financial costs between $4,000 and $11,000 per person per year, decreased quality of life, and potentially devastating outcomes for all stakeholders in the transplant process.

emocha has proven efficacy in multiple studies, including an NIH-funded study in which emocha secured 94% average adherence and saved ~$1,400 per patient and CDC reports detailing emocha’s activities during Hurricane Harvey and a recurring TB outbreak in Puerto Rico. Multiple studies indicate that Directly Observed Therapy is the gold standard for medication adherence, and increased evidence indicates that video Directly Observed Therapy can be effectively leveraged for various chronic and infectious diseases.

A Digital Adherence Program that leverages human engagement and technology to support patients at every dose of medication, emocha is used by public health departments, managed care organizations, academic medical centers, and providers across chronic & infectious diseases, including asthma and diabetes. Each day, hundreds of public health experts use emocha to monitor thousands of tuberculosis patients using virtual check-ins: with the number growing exponentially as all stakeholders in healthcare move in-person visits to scalable, asynchronous video. emocha has also used a version of its platform to monitor public health outbreaks, including Ebola, since 2015. emocha provides remote symptoms screening, monitoring, and clinical triage to healthcare workers, students, and employees across the country.

About emocha Health

emocha empowers patients to take every dose of medication through video technology and scalable human engagement. Patients use a smartphone application to report side effects, communicate with providers, and video record themselves taking medication at every dose. Providers or emocha’s clinician-led Adherence Solution team use a secure web portal to assess compliance adherence and engage with patients. The platform is being used by public health departments, hospitals, health centers, and managed care organizations across the globe to radically improve medication adherence for patients with diabetes, tuberculosis, opioid use disorder, asthma, COPD, hepatitis C, and other chronic and infectious diseases.

National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Statement

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44DK123978. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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