Pharmacy Technology Report: Our pharmacy experts discuss how new smartphone apps are reducing opioid abuse and overdose

April 16, 2019

Pharmacy experts at Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Medical School talk to Pharmacy Technology Report about new advances in technology that are putting the power to stop the opioid crisis right in the palm of a patient’s hands.

Kimberly Lenz, PharmD, a clinical pharmacy manager, discusses “The Second Chance” mobile app currently seeking FDA approval. Created at the University of Washington, the app uses inaudible sound waves to detect symptoms of overdose.

“My hope is that these types of algorithms will continue to expand into wearable technology that can help curb the opioid overdose crisis,” Dr. Lenz said. “Any system with capabilities to alert a person’s contact or emergency services could be an effective way to deliver naloxone to people in need.”

A member of the Clinical Delivery Solutions team, Lenz’ also serves as a pharmacy leader for MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program. She is part of a team that manages opioid pain medications for MassHealth, putting her in a unique position to offer insight on what works when treating patients with substance use disorders.

Managed care resident Kaelyn Boss, PharmD, described the benefits of another mobile app called “reSET-O.” Approved by the FDA in December, it is used to manage treatment programs for patients with opioid use disorder.

The app increased retention from 68.4% to 82.4% among patients taking part in a 12-week substance use disorder program. Practitioners can track patient progress through the app, which also provides patients with cognitive-behavioral therapy and skill-building exercises.

“By making [OUD] treatment available through mobile devices, it may increase patient retention in treatment programs and improve outcomes,” Dr. Boss said. “The ability to integrate mobile technology into the recovery journey is an important step, since mobile devices have become such an integral part of modern life.”


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