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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Joe Pyle, MA
President

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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Consultant

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Workit Health: Your Private, Online Program to Kick your Addiction

Workit Health

Workit Health: Your Private, Online Program to Kick your Addiction Logo

Program Website
Year:
2017
State:
Michigan
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Symptom Management and Treatment Adherence
Target Population:
Individuals with a Substance Use Disorder
Setting:
Online Community/Tool

Program Description

Workit Health makes treatment for risky substance use behaviors simple, accessible and responsive. The signature Workit product is a digital intervention providing remote behavioral change, helping individuals reduce or quit addictive behaviors in 90 days. On the Workit platform, users complete dynamic exercises to develop the emotional, social and psychological skills needed for substance wellbeing. They learn to recognize warning signs, articulate needs, and access supportive resources. Core content is adapted from evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. Presented with a fresh, friendly voice, users are matched into a tailored program reflecting their particular addictive behaviors and their unique goals. As users advance through the program, they stay connected and accountable with one-on-one text-based coaching provided by licensed counselors. We also offer Workit Tribe in a similar format, but designed to support individuals as they cope with addiction in their family members, friends, coworkers, etc. Workit is currently available via health plans and employers and directly to to consumers. Workit Health is a treatment pathway delivered with precision and can be reached anywhere and at any time via the web and mobile phones, helping to bridge the gap between current standards of care and enhanced population health.

Creativity

The company was founded in 2014 by Lisa McLaughlin and Robin McIntosh, who met through the alcoholism recovery community. Both realized the need for better solutions for addiction treatment, having experienced it first hand. The majority of the new solutions entering the marketplace are directed towards bolstering the standard of care. These platforms, devices and programs are designed to augment existing approaches. Whether location-trackers, blood alcohol monitors or peer-counseling services, many innovators are doubling down on the flawed delivery of the substance use treatment industry. Workit is different because it is purpose built by people with intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of existing treatments. It represents a marriage between evidence-based practices (throwing many of the pieties of traditional substance use treatment to the side) and “patients-as-designers.” Accountable, judgment-free and accessible, the Workit solution stays grounded in ideas that work while providing a truly novel treatment experience.

Leadership

In the short time since Workit’s founding, we have attracted a highly talented interdisciplinary team of developers, designers and clinicians, including expert advisors across relevant specialties including behavioral health and psychology and research partnerships with hospitals and universities. We’ve begun our research endeavors: running a pilot study that validated our core offering, launching a clinical trial, and implementing an NSF SBIR grant. Because of these successes and our innovative approach, we’re increasingly being recognized as thought leaders in the addiction space, as demonstrated by our participation in the prestigious Health Box accelerator, press coverage from Fortune, Medcity, and Mobihealth, and winning the People’s Choice Award at the Accelerate Michigan Business Competition. Going forward we will continue to expand our reach with employers and providers, continue to refine our direct outreach to consumers, and develop our product in close collaboration with outcomes from our ongoing research endeavors.

Sustainability

Workit Health was founded in January 2015 as a Delaware registered C Corporation with support from the Accelerate Michigan IT Sector Prize, the small business incubator SPARK, and a direct investment from an individual angel investor. Successful fundraising in 2016 resulted in Workit’s seed round at $1,100,000, led by Montage Ventures and Lux Capital, with the regional development fund InvestDetroit. Workit acquired its first paying customer in November 2016 — a large Mid-Western manufacturer to pilot an employer-to-customer conversion — and in January 2017 direct-to-consumer channel launched. Workit plans to evolve into a B Corporation, anticipating expansion of key staff and refinement of the signature product. Our early contracts with employers will expand into greater market penetration, and Workit’s clinical and business staff will re-double their efforts to validate the core of our intervention through clinical trials and establish thought leadership in the emerging digital behavioral health space.

Replicability

In the Workit Health digital platform, exercises intended for the development of emotional, social and psychological skills are organized into modules: Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit, Tribe. Exercises are adapted from evidence-based therapies and undergo an iterative process based on relationship to addictive behavior, well-being and user experience. Groups of exercises can be organized into a self-directed course and released in open access format with a creative commons attribution license. An example course could be Coping with Tough Emotions. Because exercises are in digital format, they can provide a scaleable solution that has a role to play for providers, employers, and even other companies in the recovery space. These replicable and adaptable Workit Health courses would further our mission in building communities of digital recovery.

Results/Outcomes

Several metrics allow Workit Health to track its status and success. Contracts, revenue and expansion tell part of the story but internal to the program, sophisticated instruments assess individual user outcomes. From our pilot study, 80% of people who finished Workit reported a reduction of addictive behaviors. To continue the improvement of recovery support, Workit is developing an accurate and sensitive measure of substance wellbeing: the “thrive-meter.” This feature reflects the user’s current status and offers predictive value in anticipating future struggles. In addition to usage data and self-report submissions, it incorporates novel inputs such as voice recordings, biometric data from wearables, and integration with data sources like weather, calendar, and financial. Relevant and actionable data inform tailored interventions to empower recovery from risky substance use. Thrive-meter provides a finely graded understanding of where an individual currently rests on a continuum between desired and undesired relationships with substance use.