NSF Funds Innovative Research for Addiction
Funding awarded will support development of cutting-edge technology to help individuals achieve their addiction recovery goals.
OAKLAND, CA and ANN ARBOR, MI– Workit Health, a digital behavioral health company, announced today that the National Science Foundation has awarded the company a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant. The grant awarded reflects a commitment from both Workit Health and the National Science Foundation to transform the way addiction recovery services are currently being delivered to and utilized by individuals.
With $225,000 in funding, Workit Health will be developing an innovative addiction “thrive-meter” that will assist individuals in better identifying and achieving their desired health goals.
“We’re thrilled to partner with NSF to support the development of cognitive data services that will propel our ability to deliver addiction treatment for the 21st century,” says Lisa McLaughlin, Workit’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “As the entire healthcare industry shifts from clunky interventions reliant on self-report to a precision data economy, we’re honored to have this opportunity to drive the edge in a space where we’ve lost so many to imprecise care models.”
Over 20 million American adults (8.4% of the population) met the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders in 2014 according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Tens of millions more engage in risky substance abuse behaviors. Providing appropriate care is both time- and cost-prohibitive. Currently available resources are often poorly matched to patients’ needs and wants. Left untreated or undertreated, risky substance use impacts every other area of patient health and well-being.
Innovations such as the “thrive-meter” are becoming more important as healthcare moves towards personalized care and recovery. Leveraging AI, qualitative coaching data, and user input to create a measure of a patient’s level of substance wellbeing, the “thrive-meter” will also be developed to integrate future biometric inputs—whether physical fitness trackers, or devices that measure substance intake or blood alcohol content. “Person-centered care begins with person-centered assessments,” says Itai Danovitch, immediate past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, “and the SBIR grant awarded to Workit Health paves the way for rigorous evaluation of novel assessment tools that aim to do exactly that.”
Workit Health will begin testing the prototype through clinical trials later this year and will move to integrate the “thrive-meter” into their commercial digital recovery program soon after. Robin McIntosh, Workit’s Co-Founder and President describes Workit’s design philosophy: “We started with the mission of meeting people where they are in their addiction. We blended the best of behavioral science, technology, and human-centric design to bring a compelling, novel experience that helps people clarify their own goals around addictive behaviors and take steps towards them, on their own terms, from anywhere.”
Workit just made a new friend: the United States government.
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About Workit Health: Workit Health is a digital behavioral health company that offers an innovative online program for addiction prevention and recovery. Effective and anonymous, the program tailors to individual goals and to a wide array of addictive behaviors including substance use, gambling, sex and love, and eating-related. Workit Health guides individuals in all stages of addiction to a healthy thriving lifestyle through care coordination and a self-paced program of weekly interactive lessons, tailored content and personalized coaching from qualified addiction counselors.
About National Science Foundation: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that promotes and supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Last year, NSF had a budget of $7.5 billion (FY 16) and funded 24 percent of all federally supported research at American colleges and universities. For more information, please visit https://www.nsf.gov/
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