Face it Together, the South Dakota company looking to fight the opioid crisis by going directly into communities and working with local leaders to remove the barriers that prevent people from seeking help, has an exciting new initiative to tackle addiction in America. Last month they launched Face it Together Health, which puts their AXIS recovery support platform—which captures data about a patient’s physical and emotional health in real time—into the hands of addiction treatment providers.
Face it Together Health gives addiction treatment centers the ability to access the cutting edge technology that help put Face it Together on the map. These centers can pay to access the Face it Together Health AXIS Recovery Platform, which is HIPAA compliant and which currently enables text messaging, emailing, and telephone communication between the providers or counselors and their patients. Within the next six weeks, the platform will also include a video messaging component, to further ease communication between those in recovery and the centers that aid them.
Steve Schwartz, the newly minted president of Face it Together Health, said the company realized that while their community initiatives were working, there was even more they could do to fight addiction. “What we realized is that it’s not just a Face it Together affiliate [community] who can benefit from the use of our platform,” Schwartz said, “but it’s the broader behavioral health, addiction treatment, and healthcare insurance industries who can find great value in engagement strategies and . . . tools.”
All of the money that Face it Together Health earns then goes back into funding the affiliate programs that Face it Together launches in individual communities.
Schwartz says technology can be leveraged to ensure that people who don’t live by their recovery center can still access the support they need. “A treatment center . . . releases a patient after 30 days of treatment, and they go back home,” Schwartz says. “[Now they] will have an ability to keep in touch in a very personal way through the video capability of our smartphone app.”
Face it Together Health is just the latest way that Face it Together is trying treat addiction as a disease and prevent patient readmission. “Medicare pays the bill for most treatment centers,” Schwartz explains. “So when you think about an insurance company, if you don’t solve a medical problem and you repeat the need for medical care . . . it’s actually a high cost element of their business.”
For other chronic diseases, insurance companies have built in strategies. Schwartz explains that when you inform an insurance company that you have diabetes, for example, the company will often send you reading material on how to take care of yourself and keep a good bill of health. This type of initiative, which aims to improve overall health in a group of people, is called population health.
But no major insurance company currently does that for addiction. “Population health around addiction does not exist today,” Schwartz says. Face it Together is trying to change that. “So we’re speaking actively [with insurance companies]. We have not deployed [a population health plan] yet, but we’re speaking with them,” Schwartz says. “We’re in conversations, and I will tell you we want to have more conversations.”
Casey Nugent is an editorial intern for MedTech Boston. She’s currently working on her BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston. Outside of working at MedTech Boston, Casey enjoys drinking coffee, going to the theater, goofing around with friends, and hanging out with dogs.
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