What I‘ve been reading this week … TelaDoc; MediBio; Lyra Health; American Psych Association; etc., expanding access; growing evidence of efficacy

During my regular reading about developments in the digital mental health space, I like to occasionally share articles I have been reading which especially get at how digital mental health access is expanding and the barriers to adoption are weakening. Your further perspectives on these topics is appreciated.

TelaDoc taps underserved Mental Health patients with new telehealth service, Behavioral Health Navigator. Given the ongoing challenge of mental health services access in rural areas, it is nice to see large telehealth firms gearing up to meet this need. Here we see the power of digital once again to overcome barriers of distance, time, supply/demand matching and the need for anonymity, in this space. This platform yielded a 32% reduction in depression symptoms in a Canada launch last year and it is nice to see these benefits coming to the US. It is also heartening to see other firms, American WellDoctor On Demand, and (US) CMS mimicking this move.

Medibio Corporate Health contract signed with Australia’s 3rd largest private healthcare provider. Nice acceleration here which will impact a potential 14,500 employees across Australia as part of Medibio’s Mental Health Check-in Campaign. This subscription-based mental health platform includes biometric screening and assessment surveys embedded in the Employee Assistance Program.

Lyra Health raises $45M to expand its therapist network. Congratulations to this mental health care coordination firm which is expanding its capability to touch a greater number of lives in need of mental health services via remote means, and making use of digital diagnostics, risk analytics, and live and self-administered therapy & coaching. This service is most often offered as an employee benefit.

Panelists Say Innovations in Digital Mental Health Care Increase Access and Deliver Positive Outcomes. Digital mental health occupied a place at the 2018 APA Meeting this month. The categorization put forward during this panel of digital mental health firms as aggregators, digital therapeutics and scalers, is a good model for continued sense-making in this space. Other themes include the increasing popularity of text therapy, a significant anonymity component, and growing evidence of digital efficacy in this space

Technology shows promise for psychiatric clinical assessment. As we know that one of the great barriers to digital mental health adoption is skepticism about the validated efficacy of these applications of tech. Here is a nice example of smartphone app and digital phenotyping work being done at McLean Institute for Technology and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Every result puts us closer to the tipping point.

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