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University Hospitals Among Winners in Opioid Technology Challenge

a photo of the winners of the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge
The winners of the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge came up with ways to utilize technology in the fight against the state's opioid addiction crisis.

University Hospitals and three small companies will be receiving $1 million each for products they created to help fight opioid abuse with technology.  

It’s the final stage of a state-sponsored contest to find new ways to use tech to battle opioid addiction.

The companies chosen developed patient monitoring services, apps and devices to help people in recovery reach out and stay on track, and a crib pad to calm infants in opioid withdrawal. The prize money comes from the state’s Third Frontier program. Kevin Andrews with Nine Sigma, which ran the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, says the winners collaborated with local and state resources and even with each other.

“It touches so many people that everybody has a stake in the solution and a desire to see something happen that will make life better for folks.”

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show in 2017, Ohio had nearly 4,300 overdose deaths - the second highest rate in the nation.

The winners and their technology developments  as described by Ohio's Development Services Agency include:

University Hospitals won for its an app, UH Care Continues, intended to prevent abuse, addiction, and overdoses. The app aims to create a safety net as patients transition from hospitals back into their communities. In the eight months its been in use, University Hospitals estimates that it has kept 12,000 opioid pills out of the community in eight months.

By the end of 2019, a new Ohio company will be formed to support the commercialization of UH Care Continues. UH is also working with Bush Consulting, its Ohio-based partner, to replicate the immediate impact on the opioid crisis they’ve been able to achieve within the UH health system to other Ohio-based health systems and hospitals.

Launched in 2015, the Vancouver-based Brave Technology Coop has opened an office in Columbus as it furthers development of the Brave Button, a device that can be installed in the home of a person struggling with addiction or opioid use. When activated, the quarter-sized button immediately requests supervision or support in response to opioid overdose or other emergency situations.  

Boston-based DynamiCare Health has a mobile app that facilitates testing, medical support, scheduling and more. Patients are scheduled for breath or saliva tests and self-administer and submit them through the app over selfie video. They can keep track of appointments and records through the app and are financially rewarded on a smart debit card for keeping medical or mental-health appointments and achieving milestones. DynamiCare Health launched its first Ohio-based implementation at BrightView, the largest addiction treatment system in the state. 

Prapela, based in Concord, MA is focused on newborns born with opioid addiction.  The company developed the Stochastic Vibrotactile Stimulation (SVS), a small mattress that generates a gentle, random vibration to help soothe babies. Since starting in a barn two years ago, the project has moved into Boston’s Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, secured patents and won awards from the National Institutes of Health, FDA and multiple children’s hospitals. Prapela plans to offer 52 participating Ohio hospitals free SVS pads for their bassinets.