iTether Digitizes Substance Abuse Treatment Process with Progress Health Cloud

Health Cloud, Mobility


Substance abuse has traditionally been handled via paper-based programs. A more modern approach leveraging a mobile application would enable iTether to boost patient engagement and drive better outcomes.


With Progress Health Cloud, iTether was able to quickly build a patient engagement platform that providers could customize and deploy quickly for their specific needs.


Not only was iTether able to build out the platform quickly, the company was also able to save thousands of dollars due to built-in HIPAA compliance. Additionally, the application was a success in the field—patients using recovery programs built on the iTether platform recorded higher engagement scores.

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Substance abuse is a major epidemic in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more than 72,000 Americans will die of drug overdoses in 2019—a figure that continues to grow every year.

With billions of dollars spent annually trying to curb substance use disorders (SUD), one of the big obstacles is the lack of personalization in treatment delivery. Individuals with SUD each have their own unique pattern of abuse, which needs to be reflected in treatment programs.

iTether set out to solve this problem by developing a flexible patient engagement portal that enables providers to digitize treatment protocols. With built-in reporting and monitoring, this platform would also provide evidence-based results for timely and accurate billing for payers.


Initially, iTether began working with development partners to create their platform. However, the partners that iTether spoke with suggested building the platform from the ground up, which would have taken 12-18 months to complete and cost upward of $600,000.

After further evaluating different options, iTether discovered Progress® Health Cloud. Based on the Progress Kinvey™ high productivity app development platform, Progress Health Cloud provided iTether with a proven serverless backend that enabled the company to get the patient engagement platform up and running quickly, and for less money.

“Getting to market quickly was a necessity and Progress helped us go from design to the general release of an enterprise application in less than five months,” said Sean Gunderson, CEO & Co-Founder, iTether.

Additionally, Progress Health Cloud comes with integration accelerators designed specifically for the healthcare space. Because these accelerators are configuration based, they eliminate the need to write new code for each deployment, which means iTether could quickly integrate new services.

“With Progress Health Cloud, we are uniquely positioned to rapidly integrate with telehealth, EHRs, HIEs, lab systems and wearables as the demand for integrated solutions drives the digital health market,” said Gunderson.

Built-in HIPAA compliance was another advantage of using Progress Health Cloud. iTether estimates that this saved the company hundreds of hours in development as well as thousands of dollars in associated compliance costs.


Progress Health Cloud provided iTether with a complete set of backend services, spanning integration, security and more. With both the patient-facing and provider portal apps sharing the same backend, iTether can ensure that all participants are working with a consistent set of data and eliminate any problems that could occur with multiple data sources. As a result, iTether was able to stand up the backend in just one week and had a minimum viable product and clinical portal in beta in just over four months.

To test the platform, iTether conducted a pilot program with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. According to 85% of participants, treatment programs created with iTether helped them better understand their recovery options and taught them something new about personal recovery. After their exposure to iTether based recovery programs, the number of persons desiring to enter treatment increased by 33%, enabling providers to reach otherwise inaccessible patients with personalized “high-touch” treatment.

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