MAP Health Management teams up with Lief Therapeutics to pilot anxiety-monitoring wearable in addiction recovery patients

By Heather Mack
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Recovering from addiction is more than simply staying away from substances. Along with the myriad challenges of everyday life that could trigger relapses, many people going through addiction treatment also deal with anxiety that can make it even harder for them stay substance-free. That’s why MAP Health Management – the Austin, Texas-based remote monitoring and patient engagement company focused on addiction treatment – is looking into how a wearable could help manage potentially sobriety-threatening anxiety.

At the American Telemedicine Association conference in Orlando today, MAP Health announced its partnership with wearable maker Lief Therapeutics, which makes a patch that measures heart rate and breathing to track signs of stress. It syncs with a companion smartphone app to offer the wearer feedback and mindfulness exercises to calm their mind and self-regulate, ultimately teaching the wearer to monitor and positively control their behavior rather than succumb to knee-jerk responses common during moments of high anxiety.

While Lief’s stress-monitoring patch is intended for a broad, non-medical user base, the appeal of bringing it into a post-clinical setting for addiction treatment was immediate for MAP Health.

“About 40 percent of individuals served by MAP have a history of anxiety issues,” MAP Health Management CEO Jacob Levenson said in a statement. “What’s very clear in our data is that people in recovery from addiction but with untreated anxiety issues tend to have poor outcomes. We believe that elevated anxiety is a leading indicator of a potential return to substance abuse.”

Starting next month, the two companies will launch a pilot to enroll 50 individuals currently engaged with MAP Health’s platform (which works with patients, providers, insurance companies, treatment centers and technology products to offer an analytics geared towards improving clinical and financial outcomes for chronic behavioral health illnesses). Using data from the patch, MAP will work to identify those at risk for early relapse and help coordinate the right care.

“This initiative with MAP is a big step in the right direction – empowering patients with data-driven, cost-effective preventative measures,” Lief Therapeutics CEO Rohan Dixit said in a statement. “Anxiety and stress affect every aspect of a patient’s life and care cycle. We’re excited to provide patients and doctors with a tool that tracks and improves symptoms of stress in-the-moment, helping to intervene with patients when they need it the most.”

The Lief partnership is MAP’s fourth collaboration in recent months as the company embarks on several new initiatives to expand the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of their population health platform. In February, the company announced a partnership with Soberlink, makers of a high-tech, FDA-cleared remote Breathalyzer, and just earlier this month teamed up with relapse reduction app WeConnect