By Kathryn Seacrest
The effects of opioid addiction are becoming increasingly more relevant in the lives of many Americans. In fact, an average of 115 Americans die everyday from an opioid overdose, making it the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States.
The team at Boulder Care, however, believe the true effects of this epidemic cannot be captured in a single statistic. Instead, they believe that addiction is a disease not unlike cancer or diabetes, and should be treated just as you would any other medical condition. Their model focuses on long-term, sustainable solutions focused on the individual patient’s needs.
In order to do so, they provide each patient with an individualized team consisting of an addiction doctor, nurse, care coordinator and peer coach. Each patient’s care plan is designed based on their unique needs and goals. Patients are never treated like criminals, but rather individuals managing a chronic disease.
While the consequences of the opioid epidemic are widespread throughout the country, people in low-income areas of the country are disproportionately affected. In low-income, often rural areas, access to treatment is difficult to come by. What’s worse, the majority of addiction treatment that is available fails to address the the underlying causes of addiction such as physiological dependency or social support, often preventing patients from achieving long-term recovery.
The innovation behind the Boulder Care model addresses the gap in treatment and brings comprehensive treatment to patients through a virtual platform. Their digital solutions allow for virtual appointments through telehealth and facilitated delivery of essential medications. Patients are able to access their treatment without facing the waitlists, travel expenses, or stigma often associated with addiction treatment. These are all common barriers that often prevent individuals from seeking treatment.
The dedication to setting a new standard of healthcare and the disruptive innovation behind the Boulder Care model has garnered the attention and funding from major firms including Acumen, First Round and Box Group.
The founders of Boulder Care believe that assumptions around the causes and roots of addiction lead to judgements about how they should be treated. As a result, many believe that the patients themselves are at fault for their unsuccessful treatments. Treatment programs are not one-size-fits-all. While expensive rehabilitation programs or support groups may work for some patients, they may prove to be entirely ineffective for another.
Boulder Care is currently pre-launch and pre-pilot. The founders hope that ultimately their services will reshape the way society treats addiction and making life-saving treatments more accessible to patients in need.