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Ria Health launches platform to manage alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorder, sometimes known as alcoholism, continues to be a major burden on society. People are killed trying to drive while under the influence of alcohol, work days are missed when people suffer from alcohol abuse, and the disease can tear families and organizations apart. Unfortunately, the fight against AUD has been difficult because the delivery of services to those affected has been difficult and sometimes impossible.

But there are methods of treating AUD that have been shown to work. The National Institutes of Health explains that AUD is a medical condition that can be treated through medication, behavior and mutual support groups. But finding the necessary treatment can be problematic for many people. To reach those people is the mission of companies like Ria Health.

“RIA Health is a national medical practice that is essentially on a mission to help people change their relationship with alcohol,” explains Tom Nix, CEO of Ria Health, “and we do this by helping people through providing them with an evidence-based, comprehensive program that combines a medically managed approach with a supportive coaching approach.”

Nix said that the inclusion of their technology was designed to make their AUD treatment more accessible rather than trying to replace humans with machines. “When we started this mission in 2017, we looked at technology not to replace the human-to-human interactions that would lead to very strong outcomes for people, but to help give people the opportunity to to have this treatment program delivered in a private manner. it’s safe, and it also keeps them engaged and continuing their efforts,” Nix said.

Innovative Technology

The technology that Ria Health delivers consists of an online telehealth platform, a smartphone app and a Bluetooth-equipped breathalyzer that pairs with the app on the phone. When the breathalyzer is used, it reports the user’s blood alcohol level to the application on the phone where it is available to the user as well as the counselors at Ria Health.

Ria Health recently received a $2 million grant from NIH for clinical trials to determine their program’s effectiveness. Ria Health is collaborating with the Stanford Prevention Research Center in conducting the clinical trial.

The clinical trial comes at an opportune moment. According to Ria Health, treatment for AUD has declined in recent years, starting before the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching the point where in 2020 only seven percent of people with AUD received treatment. To make matters worse, with the onset of Covid-19, alcohol consumption has increased dramatically.

In addition to the app on the phone, the online telehealth program includes a HIPAA-compliant video portal and access to health team members such as a psychiatrist, an addiction medicine specialist, or a certified addiction counselor.

The app also provides access to support groups. “The other part of the app is really interesting as we bring together opportunities for people to participate in anonymous groups that happen every day,” Nix said. The app can also include people like family members to help the patient with their treatment.

The NIH grant will help Ria Health continue their research. “The award will further help us develop more innovative aspects of our technology to drive more meaningful engagement,” said Nix. “The simple way to look at how we can provide the best possible opportunities for quality outcomes for our patients is to maintain that narrow and deep focus, but also to just continually focus on improving the patient engagement experience,” Nix said. said.

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