(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a two-part series focused on two Tennessee female Entrepreneurs are focused on helping address the recidivism rate of individuals afflicted with opioid addiction.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Two women who worked together in the U.S. Army have joined forces to help address a national epidemic – successfully recovering from addiction to opioids and sustaining that recovery.
It is a problem that particularly strikes this region of the country, and the solution that the duo has devised involves wearable technologies coupled with coaching.
Melissa Petak, who lives in the Nashville area and founded Banded Recovery, and Jessica Locklear, who resides in Maryville and serves as the start-up’s Clinical Director, embrace the motto of military medics – you don’t leave anyone behind.
“I worked with Jessica in the Army,” Petak says. “We were in school in Florida at the same time. Then, we reconnected in Tennessee.”
Both are still involved in the military – Petak shifted to the U.S. Air Force Reserves where she is currently on a tour of duty in Germany, while Locklear remained in the U.S. Army Reserves. Like many entrepreneurs with a very early stage company, the two have both their day and night jobs. In Petak’s case, she is the mother of five children who is also working on a doctorate. Locklear has one child.
The two have very different but complementary skills. Petak was a hospital administrator in the Army; Locklear is a Registered Nurse. Banded Recovery draws on their combined experiences.
“We coach people in health and wellness in the military,” Petak says. That counseling includes helping individuals handle the sorts of struggles and stresses that could lead to addiction.
“We saw the ill effects of addiction,” Petak says. “What can we take from our backgrounds to help? How can we help you have a better quality of life?”
Their answer was the basis for the founding of Banded Recovery.
At its core, their idea relies on an app that the start-up developed coupled with actions that are prompted based on data collected from the wearable device.
“One portion is chat and talk,” Petak says. “The other portion is tied into the fitness device.”
As far as the first approach, she describes it as something similar to Alexa or Siri where questions can be posed. There’s also a chat box feature that would link the client with a Recovery Coach.
On the data side, Banded Recovery will draw information every five minutes from individuals wearing a Fitbit or Apple Watch. The data will indicate if potential issues exist that call for some type of intervention.
“If you don’t leave the house for several days, something’s going on,” Petak says of one example calling for an intervention. Other indicators of a possible addiction relapse could be the heart rate and oxygen level.
In instances such as these, Banded Recovery will push notifications to patients to suggest meetings to attend along with a GPS feature that shows the location.
NEXT: More details about their plan and what’s standing in their way of going to market?