Scroll to top

Technology for Outpatient Addiction Recovery: Ongoing Challenges and New Opportunities


FEBRUARY 25, 2022

Richard Ribón Fletcher, PhD
MIT Mechanical Engineering
UMass Medical School, Psychiatry 

About the Presentation: The idea of using mobile technology and artificial intelligence to support patients in recovery is at least 20 years old.  The emergence of smart phones, wearable sensors, and the proliferation of machine learning techniques for prediction have been a huge step forward. However, many practical challenges still remain, including challenges outside the realm of technology.  The phrase “just in time intervention” has existed for over a decade, but what does “just in time” really mean? I will summarize some of the key technology advances of the past 20 years, as well as emerging tools, and also present some topics for discussion.  These topics include: measurement of affect and stress for addiction recovery; technologies for behavior monitoring (e.g. digital phenotyping) and privacy concerns; alternative strategies for recovery (e.g. The Pheonix), and current clinical ecosystems and business models for addiction treatment.

About the Presenter: Rich Fletcher directs the Mobile Technology Group within the MIT Mechanical Engineering ( which develops a variety of mobile sensors, analytic tools, and diagnostic algorithms to study problems in point of care diagnostics, mental health, behavior medicine, and global health.  Dr. Fletcher is also an assistant professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School department of Psychiatry. Dr. Fletcher earned undergraduate degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from MIT with graduate degrees in Information technology, wireless sensors, RFID, and Internet of Things; he has previously worked in the US Air Force, MIT Media Lab, and Harvard/Mass General Hospital producing over a 20 US patents and several spin-off companies.  Dr. Fletcher has been funded by NIH, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Vodafone and the Tata Trust, with the aim of bridging together the fields of engineering and medicine.