Texas county public health department adopts startup’s digital health tool for TB

Emocha, a health IT startup that developed an interesting approach to tackling the challenge of medication adherence by recording video selfies, has inked a deal with Harris County’s public health department to use its technology for TB patients there. The Baltimore-based company’s remote patient management platform miDOT platform will be applied to patients who live […]

Emocha, a health IT startup that developed an interesting approach to tackling the challenge of medication adherence by recording video selfies, has inked a deal with Harris County’s public health department to use its technology for TB patients there.

The Baltimore-based company’s remote patient management platform miDOT platform will be applied to patients who live across the 1,800 square miles surrounding Houston, according to a statement from the company. The region has one of the highest tuberculosis rates in the country. Part of the standard of care for TB patients is that healthcare professionals watch them take their medication — referred to as directly observed therapy. About 10,000 people were diagnosed with TB in the U.S. in 2012.

Sebastian Seiguer, emocha CEO, said Harris County is not your typical county public health department. Its employees include former NASA staff, such as Dr. Brian Arenare, the director of disease control and clinical prevention,
as county is home to the space center. In a short phone interview with Seighur, he said the county’s move to adopt emocha’s technology followed a pilot last year. It also competed with other technologies to win the county’s business. He added that the county is working with other digital health technology companies.

A graduate of the DreamIt Health Baltimore accelerator, emocha began the rollout last month after it won a competitive bidding process based on a head-to-head pilot with competing technologies.

Its miDOT app allows users to record themselves taking medication and transmit that data to a physician. It has worked with the South African government to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis. It’s also collaborating with the NIH to pilot its technology for applications that also include smoking cessation, weight management and diabetes.

Sebastian Seiguer is the CEO of emocha, which evolved from a Johns Hopkins Hospital program to train healthcare workers to treat HIV in Uganda.