DrFirst and GoHipo partner to combat substance abuse relapse via mobile telehealth

Mobile app equipped with social media and telemedicine designed to keep patients in recovery connected with their clinical-care teams and support networks after discharge.
By Bill Siwicki
01:57 PM
DrFirst and GoHipo partner to combat substance abuse relapse via mobile telehealth

Relapse rates for people recovering from substance abuse are between 40% and 60%, but health IT vendors DrFirst and GoHipo are collaborating on a new approach to post-discharge care designed to help people beat the odds. The approach keeps patients connected with their treatment centers’ care teams using a mobile app for secure messaging and telehealth services.

Nearly 20 million people struggle with substance abuse disorders in the U.S., a figure that leads to nearly 200 deaths each day from drug overdose. High relapse rates point to the need for new ways to support people in recovery.

Social-media connections

The new partnership enables GoHipo’s HipoChat mobile app to provide people in recovery with a new way to support their sobriety. HipoChat offers a supportive social-media connection to designated friends, family and others in recovery. The app is available for Android and Apple iOS devices.

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After discharge, many patients can struggle to continue their recovery without the close contact of their inpatient clinical teams and the fellow patients in their support groups, according to Doug Denhart, GoHipo’s founder and CEO. He observes that it's even more difficult for the many patients who live hundreds or thousands of miles from their residential treatment centers.

“Traditionally, after treatment, patients return home to the same environments and triggers that led them to substance abuse in the first place,” he explained. “We want to use technology in a new way to help clients remain drug-free and sober. Being able to continue care with their clinical teams and stay connected with the friends who helped them through recovery can help clients avoid relapse.”

HIPAA-compliant secure messaging

The partnership uses DrFirst’s Backline technology to power the GoHipo mobile app, which provides 24/7 support for people recovering from addiction. Backline’s secure messaging meets HIPAA requirements for protecting private health information.

The GoHipo app provides:

  • A one-touch trigger button that clients in crisis can use to alert their primary support teams (such as their sobriety sponsors, therapists, families and friends) if they are in crisis and need urgent support.
  • Continuity of care with clients’ entire treatment teams from their residential centers, including physicians and therapists, via HipoChat’s secure telehealth connection through Backline.
  • The ability to schedule online medical-assisted treatment with their physicians.
  • “Always on” access to clients’ patient support teams from the treatment facilities.
  • Social-media community with clients’ friends and families to help support their sobriety.

“Real-time connections for patients, caregivers and their support community can help them maintain life-changing recovery,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst.

The collaboration also enables streamlined workflows for e-prescribing and fully integrated telehealth communications between clinicians and patients.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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