“The development of HeNN … enables individuals, treatment professionals and significant others the ability to connect with needed resources and services in near real time,” she said. “The peer network facilitates meaningful feedback relative to access, which will promote improvement where it is needed the most.”
Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Delaware’s Division of Public Health and chair of the state’s Addiction Action Committee, said the “events” section will be particularly helpful.
“No matter whether you are in recovery and need to identify the nearest support meeting, or you are a family or community member who wants to get training on how to administer naloxone so that you are prepared to respond in the event of an overdose, the events section will provide you with updated information on where to go for what you need,” she said. “The HeNN app also connects users to HelpIsHereDE, the state’s one-stop online source of information on prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction.”
Elizabeth Romero, director of Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, said HeNN complements the state’s comprehensive online behavioral health referral system for health care providers, the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN). That network allows patients to be transitioned through electronic referrals to behavioral health providers in the state that match the level of care needed.
“Technology is advancing when it comes to connectivity to treatment services,” Romero said. “So many individuals and families in our state can benefit from well-designed tools that support their journey to recovery.”
About the development of HeNN
The project’s leaders, in addition to Anderson, are UD’s Hui Fang and Cathy Wu.
Fang is associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, David L. and Beverly J.C. Mills Chair, and JPMC Interim Fellow. She is also affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, the Institute for Financial Services Analytics and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Fang’s group leads app wire-framing and programming.
Wu is the Unidel Edward G. Jefferson Chair in Engineering and Computer Science, professor of computer and information sciences and director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the Data Science Institute. Her group assists with the underlying database development with an automated workflow to streamline data integration and update.
Other members of the development team were Haibi Hu from Computer Science and Engineering; Sachin Gavali and Julie Cowart, from the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; Joshua Stout and Logan Neitzke-Spruill, both of the Center for Drug and Health Studies; Gabe Humphreys, Andrew Braune and John Hedberg, all of Green Line Business Group, a technology company; and Patrick Callahan of CompassRed, a data and analytics company.
HeNN was funded by a Center for Advanced Technology grant from the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. The team is exploring other sources of support to continue expanding HeNN’s functionality and services offered.
What’s next for HeNN?
In the future, the HeNN team hopes to incorporate services from surrounding areas, including Philadelphia and northern Maryland, and to expand resources and services that address mental health and general health.
“The app has been designed in a way that can be easily scaled to more services with minimum manual effort,” Fang said.