BACtrack launches remote monitoring app for alcoholism

The $79 to $129-a-month subscription service provides digital accountability for people in recovery.
By Jonah Comstock
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BACtrack, a company that has been invested in the smartphone-connected breathalyzer for years now, has launched BACTrack View, a new remote monitoring service that will let friends, family, or sponsors check in remotely on a BACtrack user’s sobriety level.

“Alcohol is a drug, and when people have addiction issues with drugs, when they’re at their worst, there can be a lot of lies and a lot of deception,” BACtrack President and Founder Keith Nothacker told MobiHealthNews. “And we heard that from many people. So when you can get to a fundamental truth, you can see the result here, someone is highly intoxicated, or you know they don’t have alcohol, it’s really a big step forward for being able to … take control of their own lives.”

The service is available as a subscription plan for between $79 and $129, and all plans include the BACtrack Mobile device.

The person doing the monitoring can set a testing schedule. The person being monitored will then get reminders to test their breath. When they do so, they also take a picture with the phone’s front-facing camera to prove it’s them. The observer can then see both the picture and the results, or get a notification if the test is missed.

What’s the impact

Right now, the service is being sold direct-to-consumer, but Nothacker says he sees potential for enterprise use cases in the future.

For now, the company is touting several different use cases, from recovery support to peace of mind in split-custody situations.

“Having something where two people or more than two people can easily verify that someone’s not drinking, it’s something that didn’t exist before,” Nothacker said. “The initial reaction can be ‘That’s creepy’ but when we speak with customers and someone who’s actually using it happily and willingly, they say ‘This is amazing.’ My wife didn’t believe that I was sober when I was traveling for work, and now she knows that I am. She helps in my recovery.’”

What’s the trend

Way back in 2013, we did a roundup on the smartphone-connected breathalyzer space. But other than Breathometer, which has pivoted into digital oral health, only BACtrack and FLOOME still appear to be in operation.

BACtrack is the first to offer this remote monitoring functionality. Nothacker says the company launched a small pilot of the service a few years ago to test it out and gauge reactions. Going forward, he plans to add more functionality, such as dashboards for clinicians monitoring multiple users.

On the record

“BACtrack View came because we were hearing from customers who were using our devices and literally taking a picture of the BACtrack and then texting that result to someone who is monitoring their sobriety,” Nothacker said. “So we said, we could probably build a software solution that would make that process a little bit smoother.”

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