Ashley is trying to change that by conducting research in partnership with faculty from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to identify signatures or phenotypes of treatment trajectory that are predictive of relapse susceptibility. As a part of routine care at Ashley, patients are required to complete momentary standardized assessment batteries to measure psychometric trends of pathology and resilience. The biometric data obtained from WHOOP will supplement this data as an objective measure of healthy recovery. Ultimately, it will enable Ashley and faculty from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to identify new treatment protocols that reduce stress triggers for relapse, lead to better outcomes for patients, and add to the body of knowledge around SUD treatment. Ashley chose WHOOP Unite as its technology partner in the study.
Overcoming Challenges in Addiction Research
There are a number of specific challenges in deploying wearables in an inpatient setting like Ashley. First, access to cell phones by patients is strictly prohibited for patient safety. Ordinarily, wearable devices, including WHOOP, transmit their data to the cloud via a user’s cell phone, but this was not an option in this case. Second, patient data falls under HIPAA regulations, so the data had to be secure and de-identified to anyone on the platform except for the patient’s primary counselor and Ashley’s data personnel. Finally, staff time is limited so they needed a solution that could scale to hundreds of patients without placing an undue burden on staff to administer devices, keep them charged, and onboard and offboard patients.
Prior to partnering with WHOOP Unite, Ashley had conducted several patient sleep studies using actigraphs, which Jami considers a “less sophisticated technology.”
“Traditional actigraphy only measures motor activity. Actigraph devices do not include photoplethysmography technology which provides biometrics of interest like heart rate, HRV, respiratory rate, blood oxygen, and skin temperature that you get with WHOOP,” said Jami. This data will help them unlock physiological clues into SUDs, and potentially offer superior treatment interventions and efficacious methods of relapse prevention.