(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final 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
“Medicine is not about prescribing drugs; it’s about taking care of people,” Melissa Petak, Co-Founder of Banded Recovery, says.
She founded the early stage start-up to focus on helping individuals addicted to opioids by using a combination of wearable technology and coaching. The start-up’s Clinical Director is Jessica Locklear of Maryville.
The two have military backgrounds – one as a hospital administrator, the other in nursing – so they are drawing on that experience in several ways. One involves stages where participants earn badges or rewards for progress.
The first step is titled “With Honor” and lasts about nine weeks. It’s a stage that involves Recovery Coaches actively engaged with the participants.
Once the individual completes “With Honor,” the next stage is “Tour of Duty.”
Petak says this is where “we build you up. You should be well past addictions, and now I’m teaching you how to live your life.”
Stage 3 is appropriately named “Mission Complete,” but that’s not the end.
“We stay with you to ensure sustainability,” Petak explains, underscoring the importance of not sliding back into addiction. Many of those who complete this stage will become Recovery Coaches, sharing their experience with others.
As noted in the first article in this series, an important part of the Banded Recovery concept is the collection of data from wearables like Fitbit and the Apple Watch. Those data are important indicators of the need for an intervention with a patient, but they are also valuable to others.
“A lot of drug companies have told us they’ll buy the data,” Petak says. “Our monitoring can help advise drug companies on tapering” frequency of use or strength.
With the app developed for now and the concept finalized, the next evolution for Banded Recovery is a clinical trial.
“We need to put the app and coaching in the field,” Petak says. The ideal trial would involve 300 individuals.
We have interacted with Locklear on several occasions in the Knoxville area, but only talked with Petak once via an interview using Skype. Yet, it is clear both are extremely passionate about the cause.
“As mothers and healthcare officers, we have a heart for helping others,” Petak says. “We want to use our talents to make others better.”