The provider-facing technology is expected to help predict when a person is drinking again.

Beam Diagnostics, Excella team up on alcohol relapse app

By Laura Lovett
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Beam Diagnostics is teaming up with tech company Excella to create an app that detects relapse in alcohol use disorder. The technology will specifically be targeted at helping providers predict when a patient might be struggling.  

“Beacon was created to improve the lives of those suffering from alcohol misuse and to help prevent alcohol use disorder from going undiagnosed,” Dr. Sarah Snider, CEO of Beam, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Excella will help us create a user-friendly app to address the widespread challenge of substance abuse in our communities. Our combined forces with the students from Excella’s Extension Center will package advanced technology that can be easily integrated into any clinic or hospital.”

As part of the deal, students from Virginia Tech will be working with engineers from Excella on the project. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use leads to about 88,000 deaths in the U.S. a year. The agency said that, in the short term, excessive alcohol use can lead to injuries such as falls, burns or drowning. It can also lead to alcohol poisoning and violence. In the longer term, it can increase a person’s chances of developing certain kinds of cancers and lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. 

THE LARGER TREND

Several digital health companies are working on technologies to help patients overcome alcohol use disorder. In November, digital therapeutic company Pear Therapeutics commercially launched its FDA-cleared product reSET for substance use disorder.

Others have taken a more consumer-driven approach. Hayver and Sobercoin use cryptocurrency as an incentive for users to cut back on drinking. 

Not all of these platforms have been success stories. For example, in January New York City-based Annum Health, a digital health startup focused on using digital health tools to curb alcohol use, closed its doors due to financial circumstances.