Affect in the Rethink Behavioral Health Spotlight

Affect for innovation in digital health.

Rethink Behavioral Health featured Affect in its Spotlight for new and interesting startups. CEO Kristin Muhlner shared how Affect is changing the way the world treats stimulant use disorders through our digital app for methamphetamine and cocaine addictions. Read more below:

Solome: What does Affect Therapeutics do?
     Kristin: Affect Therapeutics uses mobile technology to revolutionize recovery from stimulant use disorder. Our scalable, evidence-based intervention leverages contingency management incentives, cognitive behavioral therapy, and adjuvant medications, all delivered in a digital care program that lowers the barriers for patients seeking treatment.
     We combine a digital therapeutic app with an integrated care team of expert providers, clinicians, and coaches to provide a level of treatment comparable to intensive outpatient therapy, with better outcomes and significantly lower costs. Our focus is on addressing the methamphetamine crisis, one of the toughest areas of substance abuse, where traditional treatment has been challenged in achieving measurable success. 

Steve: How is Affect leveraging digital technologies to “rethink” how behavioral health services are delivered?
     Kristin: Our data-driven approach and technology enables continuous delivery of real-time improvements in treating patients. With over 200 data collection points per patient in a single month of care, our technology learns as it helps the patient recover, driving analytics that enable us to provide both content and incentives exactly when a patient needs them. In addition, our automated algorithms run continuously to assess patient risk based on these data points, enabling our care team to intervene or re-engage a patient at critical moments. By leveraging artificial intelligence, we’re applying big data concepts in ways that will drive population-level insights critical in understanding the causal relationships between patient activity and outcomes.
     The key to bringing substance use disorders into lasting remission is access to treatment that is flexible and fits the life of patients, so they stay with it. Nothing is more flexible or omnipresent in our connected, digital lives than the smartphone, even for underserved populations. The digital experience enables us to engage patients with rewards and incentives, creating compulsion loops that stimulate the brain’s reward system and provide positive reinforcement for healthy behaviors. 
     Further, by providing bi-weekly telemedicine-based group and individual therapy and drug screens, as well as daily coaching and support, we reduce the friction and raise the accessibility of treatment for patients, no matter where they are. We can reach rural populations where the methamphetamine crisis rages, but there are no brick-and-mortar clinics within range.
     While the patient benefits from our always-on technology, so does the provider. Our providers have real-time visibility into a patient’s progress throughout their recovery journey. Compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar group therapy approach where the patient has to come to the provider in a treatment center or clinic, our integrated solution means patients are always connected to our digital care system.

The interview continues at Rethink Behavioral Health