Hanover treatment center launches app to beat addiction

The smartIOP program uses an app to help track and connect to patients. (Courtesy Williamsville Wellness)

The smartIOP program uses an app to help track and connect to patients. (Courtesy Williamsville Wellness)

A Hanover-based addiction treatment center is going digital in an effort to serve more patients.

Williamsville Wellness has rolled out smartIOP, an online intensive outpatient program for recovering addicts. The program includes video sessions, teletherapy, exercise/sleep pattern tracking and “smart sponsors,” which are family members or friends who complete parts of the program with the patient. The program lasts between six and 12 weeks on average.

Founder Bob Cabaniss, who opened the for-profit institution in 2007 on his family’s estate at 10515 Cabaniss Lane, said the new technology is a push toward efficiency and engagement.

“If you’re going to bend the cost curve of medicine today, you need to do it online as much as possible,” Cabaniss said. “You get the patient more engaged with people they care about and who care about them. The smart sponsors get to understand addiction. A lot of families don’t understand addiction and don’t know how to help.”

Williamsville Wellness has been a 28-day residential treatment program that accommodates up to 26 patients. But, Cabaniss said, smartIOP, which has been four years in the making, could allow Williamsville Wellness to serve thousands more patients nationwide.

Bob Cabaniss

Bob Cabaniss

The system tracks data through Fitbit watches to quantify patients’ sleep and exercise habits through the recovery process offsite. SmartIOP is trademarked and a licensed program in the state of Virginia, and covered by some major insurers like Anthem and UnitedHealth. Cabaniss said he’s in talks to offer the program in other states through licensed rehab centers.

“It allows people who live in rural areas to get the help they need. If you live in Buckingham County, there’s no IOP there,” Cabaniss said.

A variety of sources refer Williamsville Wellness patients, including therapists, judges, family members and community service boards.

It has an outpatient program in a 7,000-square-foot space at 8505 Bell Creek Road in Mechanicsville. The organization’s annual budget is around $3 million and it breaks even, Cabaniss said.

He said the investment in creating smartIOP was “substantial” and privately funded.

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