BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Fighting addiction is hard enough. It takes an emotional and financial toll on families — and even those looking to keep clean face barriers when it comes to staying connected with their doctor.

Thankfully, in a first-of-its-kind app, created by a company called Atadas, AddMedPro helps those with addiction stay on the path of sobriety.

“One of my issues is that a lot of my patients are rural,” said Substance Use Disorder Treatment Physician Assistant, Grant Lannoye. “I have patients that come from Williston, Bismarck, Grand Forks, kind of all over to see me.”

One of the key aspects of medical assistant treatment is monitoring if patients are taking their medications appropriately — which can be difficult when your clients are spread out across the state.

“One of the ways we would do that is pill counts,” Lannoye continued. “I would say to my nurse, ‘hey I need a pill count done on John Doe.’ So she picks up the phone and tries to contact John Doe. Most of the time, we can’t get ahold of them, and leave a voicemail. After several voicemails, we get in touch, and then you tell them they have to go to pharmacy XYZ so that they can count your medications.”

With all those hoops to jump through, Atadas realized that the need to keep patients and physicians connected and on the same page is critical. And in such a technological world, the company decided to create an app that would do just that.”

“So, they get a text notification on their phone,” Lannoye explained. “They lay their pills out on the table and they take a picture of them. And then they have to take a picture of themselves too, or a selfie so I know it’s them. And those come back to our inbox, and we review them, and look to see when they had their medications prescribed.”

The idea for this new app started during the Pandemic.

“During the COVID shutdown,” Founder and CEO of Atadas, Bill Farr stated, “there wasn’t an easy way to connect with patients between visits. There were TeleHealth and video consultations, but physicians wanted more interaction. So, we created a technology that enables the provider to connect better with patients — in particular, OUD patients, Opioid Use Disorder patients, to better connect and better engage the overall outcome of that process.”

According to Farr, AddMedPro is already making connections with doctors easier and is already starting to change the lives of those living with addiction for the better.

“We did a two-year pilot from 2020 to 2022,” Farr continued, “and we studied drop-outs on treatment. And we found that this app actually increased patient retention, and keeping patients in treatment is what it’s about.”

According to Farr, that retention rate increased by around 39% — which, as mentioned in the quote, is the app’s main goal. By helping patients stay in treatment with medication-assisted therapy, it can aid in making their chances of quitting that much better.