Daily Briefing – October 11, 2019

“Telemedicine has been gaining a lot of steam in recent years. And it has become an increasingly important component of healthcare delivery. As a result, provider organization CIOs and other health IT leaders have had their hands full finding and implementing new telemedicine technologies to help their organizations best reach as many patients as possible in the most efficient manner as possible. Here, five telemedicine technology experts offer best practices for implementing the technology. They share their hard-fought wisdom from years of experience working with this unique health IT. And they offer advice on a comprehensive array of topics health IT workers face when working in the field of telehealth.”

“NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, on World Mental Health Day, social activist and iconic fashion designer Kenneth Cole, announced the formation of The Mental Health Coalition, an initiative that will bring together the most respected and influential nonprofits, businesses, brands, celebrities and influencers for the first time in a large scale coordinated effort to destigmatize mental health conditions. This coordinated effort to rebrand the way we use language to describe mental health will introduce a new non-stigmatized vocabulary (both spoken and visual) that we hope will create a cultural shift that allows people to feel empowered and better able to navigate their world while embracing their mental health conditions. Cole, a longtime board member and former chairman of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and current Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, brings together an unprecedented group of leaders in the mental health space. The coalition will also develop an online platform and digital resource hub that will launch to the general public in May of 2020, Mental Health Awareness Month. The platform will be a place where those seeking help or guidance can easily navigate the mental health space, ultimately marrying critical resources to extraordinary needs.”

“Sentio, a behavioral health startup offering an emotion-sensing wearable and a connected support app, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by Felicis Ventures, with additional support from Anthemis Exponential Ventures and SOSV, and brings the company’s total raise to $6.3 million. WHAT THEY DO Sentio’s Feel platform is headlined by the Feel Emotion Sensor, a wristband that monitors physiological signals such as heart rate, skin temperature and galvanic skin response. These readings are fed into a proprietary algorithm that the company says will allow the platform to recognize the wearer’s emotional patterns. From there, a connected companion app responds with personalized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions and education specific to the user’s mood. “For decades, healthcare providers have been able to use objective data to measure and track all types of physical disorders, yet there has been no such solution for mental health to improve clinical effectiveness. Historically, mental healthcare is only provided at the therapist’s office during periodic check-ins and has relied on patient questionnaires,” George Eleftheriou, cofounder and CEO of Sentio, said in a statement. “We envision a world where technology understands when someone is going through a depressive phase or panic attack, and provides support in their time of need so no one has to suffer alone ever again.””

“WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today is World Mental Health Day, a moment where we reflect about the challenges we still face towards better treatment of mental illness and its impact on patients. Mental illness takes a heavy personal toll on the patients, caregivers and loved ones who are impacted. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five people or 46.6 million Americans have a mental illness. The economic impact is also significant with resulting lost wages, health care expenditures and disability benefits costing the U.S. more than $317 billion annually. The development of new and effective treatments for mental illness is very difficult, given the scientific complexities underlying the cause of many of these diseases. Despite these challenges, a new report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) found that today, biopharmaceutical research companies have 138 medicines in development which offer a promise to help the millions of Americans living with mental illness.”

“Dive Brief: The country’s largest private payer is rolling out a new virtual care app for the more than 27 million Americans covered in its employer-sponsored health plans. The new UnitedHealthcare app gives users access to a practitioner via mobile device or computer. Beneficiaries can use it to schedule and conduct a virtual visit with a doctor. Physicians can diagnose a range of conditions during the visit and prescribe and send medications to local pharmacies for pickup. The app will be free for the majority of people enrolled in the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based payer’s employer-sponsored plans, but consumers may have to pay additional out-of-pocket costs for telemedicine services depending on their plan and state requirements.”