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November 4, 2019

UC San Diego’s Wirelessly Observed Therapy for Digitally Recording Adherence to TB Medication Recognized in Top Tier International Medical Journal

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San Diego, CA. November 4, 2019. Alliance Healthcare Foundation (Alliance) is pleased to share that its 2012 Innovation Initiative (i2) winner, Wirelessly Observed Therapy for Tuberculosis at the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, UC San Diego, has had its novel tuberculosis (TB) treatment research findings published in the prestigious journal PLOS Medicine (October 4, 2019). The findings indicate that this novel sensor-based system, that uses mobile devices to remotely record digital data are as accurate as actually watching a person swallow their medications, the current standard of care method to ensure adherence to TB treatment. Medication adherence is a critical factor in curing TB.

Researchers and authors of the published manuscript include Sara H. Browne (lead researcher), Anya Umlauf, Amanda J. Tucker, Julie Low, Kathleen Moser, Jonathan Gonzalez Garcia, Charles A. Peloquin, Terrence Blaschke, Florin Vaida, and Constance A. Benson.

The novel treatment is FDA-approved Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) which is a “patient self-management system consisting of an edible ingestion sensor, external wearable patch, and paired mobile device that can detect and digitally record medication ingestions,” as described in the published manuscript.

TB is an infectious disease that kills the most people annually. Spread by droplets released into the air from the infected person makes it easily contagious. The cure is multiple antibiotics taken over many months. If doses are missed or full treatment is not completed, the infected person can continue to spread the disease. New methods of ensuring and confirming that the infected person takes all the correct medication doses is crucial to saving lives and combatting disease spread.

The research team tested WOT for system accuracy in identifying ingestions and also randomly assigned persons with TB to receive the new WOT system or the standard of care.

Sarah Browne“We found the system was highly accurate and that persons using this system were confirmed as taking 93% of their daily prescribed doses as opposed to 63% using the standard of care,” said Sara Browne, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, UC San Diego and lead researcher on the WOT research. “It was also overwhelmingly preferred by the participants.”

Dr. Browne went further to say that “WOT should be tested in high-burden TB settings, where it may substantially support low- and middle-income country TB programs.”

Sarah Lyman

“WOT shows great promise for improving our odds to reduce further TB outbreaks, especially in populations that do not have or seek access to regular medical treatment,” stated Sarah Lyman, Executive Director, Alliance Healthcare Foundation. We’re pleased to see the UC San Diego team getting well-deserved peer recognition for their findings, and look forward to the day when WOT is in the market, making a difference in peoples’ lives.”

About Innovation Initiative (i2)

The i2 program had its beginning in 2010 when Alliance Healthcare Foundation (Alliance) recognized it must inspire innovation to meet its mission as the poor outcomes coupled with increasing amount of dollars flowing to healthcare were becoming an ever-larger portion of the country’s GDP and therefore unsustainable. Alliance’s i2 Innovation Initiative is based on the thesis that innovation capital (“venture philanthropy”) is needed to transform the current paradigm (high cost and poor outcomes) for the most vulnerable populations.

As a result of this nearly decade-long effort, Alliance has established a track record of sourcing, funding and developing scalable social enterprise innovations through the i2 Innovation Initiative. First launched in 2010, the i2 program has awarded $12 million to innovative organizations, including follow-up investment.

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About Alliance Healthcare Foundation. We work to advance health and wellness for the most vulnerable in San Diego and Imperial counties through collaborative funding, convening and advocacy.

We believe wellness is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, economic and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Society, community, neighborhood and family are collectively responsible for creating an environment of health and wellness. Wellness is personal and is not the same for everyone. Individuals need information and support to make positive choices for a more successful existence.

We currently operate a portfolio of five programs:

  1. i2 Innovation Initiative — also referred to as “venture philanthropy”—based on the thesis that innovation capital (often high risk, high reward) is needed to transform the current paradigm (high cost and poor outcomes) and improve quality, increase capacity and reduce costs;
  2. Mission Support—based on the belief that trusting those closest to our constituents and providing core operating support for great organizations will best advance our mission;
  3. Responsive Funding—based on the belief that it is important to be responsive to time-sensitive community needs and opportunities;
  4. InvestUp—based on the belief that it is important to actively and strategically be looking for ways to meaningfully advance our mission and it is worth spending some or all of our corpus—beyond the earnings off of our endowment—if we can substantively, sustainably and positively change the dynamics; and
  5. Impact Investments–based on the thesis that we can activate our investment portfolio to achieve more positive impact.

Our History. In 1982, the San Diego Community Healthcare Alliance (Alliance) created the first Preferred Provider Organization/Network (PPO) in the United States. From 1989 through 1994, the Alliance funded Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF) through profits from its Community Care Network (CCN) operations. In 1994, Alliance sold CCN to a national healthcare company and channeled the proceeds from CCN’s sale into an endowment of $83 million for AHF. That endowment has enabled funding of approximately $64 million (USD) in direct funding and approximately $41 million (USD) from national and local funding partners in San Diego and Imperial counties. Our endowment holds approximately $80 million in assets today, with funding for programs and operations derived from endowment investment earnings.

AHF Media contact:
Karen Winston, Communications Director, Alliance Healthcare Foundation
P 858-348-6472 E karen.winston@alliancehf.org

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