IBM, MAP Health Management team up on addiction treatment

MAP Health Management will integrate IBM Watson's cognitive computing into its offerings to better support providers caring for patients with substance abuse disorder.

MAP Health Management is tapping IBM Watson’s cognitive computing tools to enhance its behavioral health management technology. The partnership aims to tackle substance abuse relapse in the U.S.

Austin, Texas-based MAP will apply IBM’s technology to its Recovery Network Platform, a group of solutions designed to support providers of behavioral health and addiction treatment. Specifically, it will improve its patient risk models, the pair said in a statement.

“Addiction is the great crisis of our time,” said MAP CEO Jacob Levenson in the statement. “The current method of assessing, treating and paying for addiction and substance care isn’t sustainable. It’s time to leverage an advanced cognitive technology platform like IBM Watson to help make the right evidence-based decisions to best treat those suffering from addiction.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that more than 125,000 people die each year due to addiction and substance abuse, while only about one-tenth of the 22.5 million Americans who need help with substance abuse disorder are getting it, according to Department of Health and Human Services figures. Integrating Watson into MAP’s offerings will help patients more effectively manage their disease in the long term, Levenson said.

“Bringing Watson into MAP’s ecosystem has the potential to improve the lives of millions and save billions of dollars,” he said. Using Watson will help MAP users extract and act on insights from patient data, according to the statement. Watson can read unstructured data—such as case notes from a care manager—that traditional tools can miss and fail to include it in analysis.

Aetna Behavioral Health is slated to use MAP’s Watson-powered tool to help predict substance abuse relapse. MAP and Aetna are already collaborating on gathering and analyzing patient data to create long-term strategies to help patients reach and stay in recovery.

“We look forward to continuing to work with MAP, and now IBM, to innovate and devise new methods for helping people struggling with addictions and comorbid behavioral health disorders achieve optimal emotional health and well-being,” said Louise Murphy, who heads Aetna Behavioral Health, in the statement.

IBM Watson is no stranger to partnerships and neither is MAP. Last month, the company tied up with Lief Therapeutics to monitor anxiety in patients with substance abuse disorder. And in February, it inked a deal with Intent Solutions to track medication adherence in people with substance abuse disorder using Intent’s smart drug dispenser.