Skandalaris Center

The background image for the website. It is a multi colored mosaic.

Redefining Addiction Treatment Through Technology [SkIP 2020]

Tom Janoski (BS '22)
July 30, 2020

Last winter, my grandfather showed me his 30-year sobriety coin, made of bronze with a bible verse etched into it. I commented on how I liked the design, and my grandpa, always the comedian, said, “You can take it. I got a whole drawer full of em”.

To be honest, this caught me off guard. He had a coin for every year of sobriety as well as 13 extra for the first year. At the time, I didn’t realize how sobriety has been a lifelong journey. He wasn’t just fighting a bad habit; he was fighting a disease. It physically warps your mind, becoming entrenched in how you both think and feel. These coins serve as both a celebration and a reminder of his continuing commitment.

Even though addiction has been around for as long as mind-altering substances, the modern system of holistic rehabilitation that focuses both physical and emotional factors only came about in 1949 and only became widely adopted in the 80s. For over 40 years, the Minnesota model has been the gold standard in treatment. Yet the number of patients who relapse still hovers around 40-60% (National Institute on Drug Abuse), meaning a return to their lifestyle before starting treatment.

Before, therapists often had to rely on an incomplete set of data to create their treatment plans. It used to be nearly impossible to know if patients were responding to the treatments, and even when it was successful, it was hard to know why. Now, with technology, all of that data can be both obtained and accessible to improve patient outcomes.

Takoda was founded with this goal in mind. They are using an evidence-based approach to help therapists personalize treatment to patients, therefore, having a higher success rate.

Company Website

Hi, my name is Tom Janoski. I am a rising senior double majoring in computer engineering and computer science interested in IoT. This summer, I have had the opportunity to work as a front-end developer at Takoda, working on a new telehealth system.

After six weeks of work, I sat in on a showing of our telehealth system to working therapists. It was extremely rewarding to see how excited the therapists were about our system. Hearing the pain points of their current workflow and how our system can improve upon it was invigorating. By leveraging the power of technology, we can make a real impact on people’s lives. I’m excited to continue being a part of that.

This internship has been made an incredible experience from the people on our team at Takoda and the work we are doing, as well as the Skandalaris building a community, even these crazy remote times. I’m happy to see what we have already accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what we can do in these final weeks.