Posted by Sherri Starcher
Apr 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM
In case you missed it, last week we revealed the first two selections on our 5 Brands to Watch in Healthcare Technology list. This list, meant to highlight the diversity of healthcare brands that are set to make a stir this year, is merely a portion of the companies helping patients take control of their care in 2016.
Read on, as we reveal the top three brands that conclude the series in today’s post.
3. Lyra Health: Transforming mental health care.
Behavioral health has rarely been a priority as part of employer-sponsored healthcare programs or by recent technology innovations. Lyra Health, a behavioral health start-up, founded by David Ebersman, former FaceBook CFO, is setting out to change that. Using technology to help patients identify behavioral health conditions and match patients with the best available mental health provider, based on their clinical needs and the company’s unique understanding of provider capabilities, the company is putting another potential cost-saving tool in the employer health provider’s arsenal.
With $35 million in funding raised last year, Lyra plans to develop a series of screening tools for patients, with a roll-out of the primary model of the technology to health plan and enterprise customers planned for the first quarter of 2016. Once implemented, Lyra promises to lower overall health care costs for the providing organization by offering the appropriate level of care quicker and decrease the risks (and expenses) associated with the untreated mental illness of its employees.
Adding an element of human touch to the mix, Lyra will also connect each patient with a care manager to provide support throughout the treatment process, updating the employer on progress and regularly checking in to ensure that the treatment is on track to mitigate the lengthy path to wellness that’s associated with the current treatment model.
The Brand Challenge
Over 50 million Americans reportedly suffer from mental health conditions, yet two out of three people that need mental health care never receive it, due in part to the stigma that still exists with mental health around the world. Many would-be patients are reluctant to self identify for mental health conditions, perhaps made even more difficult in Lyra’s employer-sponsored treatment model that would not only make employers aware of mental illness or substance abuse problems, but allow them to check-in on their employees progress during treatment. Time will tell if employees will be willing to sacrifice privacy in return for a quicker, better route to the treatment they require.
2. Akili Labs: Paving the way for a new realm of treatment options.
Non-adherence to treatment plans is a major problem in medicine, particularly when treating cognitive disorders. To help increase adherence and strengthen brain activity, Boston, Massachusetts-based Akili Interactive Labs has developed a video game treatment plan called Project:Evo.
Having raised $30.5 million for development last year, Akili’s Project: Evo uses a patient-controlled alien avatar to respond to obstacles, helping to hone the player’s multi-tasking abilities and how he or she processes and prioritizes information. Easily deployed to patients anywhere, with progress tracked by physicians, Akili hopes that this gaming approach will make significant advancements in the treatment of cognitivie disorders like ADHD, autism, depression, and traumatic brain injuries.
The Brand Challenge:
Akili Labs is the first health gaming company to secure a round of funding, meaning health games are a relatively new treatment option, even in a very technology-focused industry. So, debates still exist on whether clinical games have any place in treatment plans. The real indication whether this technology, and the Akili brand, will be able to penetrate the healthcare market will come once substantial clinical trials have been completed and the value to the patient has been continually validated.
Remember all the fanfare that came along with the unveiling of Google Glass back in 2012? Of course you do. We all do. It’s hard to forget something that had a 12-page spread in Vogue magazine, a dedicated episode of the Simpsons and was sported by Diane Von Furstenberg at New York Fashion Week. Yet, we haven’t heard much about the technology in recent years, likely due in part to Google killing the product on the consumer side, choosing instead to focus the product’s commercial lines. Now, the technology has seen an interesting resurgence in the healthcare field, thanks to Boston-based Augmedix, a HIPAA-compliant documentation service that has developed a Google Glass clinical documentation for physicians and other providers.
Having raised $16 million in funding this year, the company hopes to reduce the time physicians spend turned away from patients typing notes, looking up information, and inputting data into EHRs on computer screens to increase meaningful face-to-face communication. Glass will utilize voice commands to record the doctor’s notes from the initial consultation with the patient, while at the same time, a combination of computers and human administrators will enter that information into the medical record. What’s more, to safeguard against privacy concerns, the internet connection is disabled and all data is sent via an isolated, encrypted channel.
The Brand Challenge:
While currently in place by five national health systems, including Dignity Health, Augmedix’s solution is up against some ingrained legacy technology that is still widely used, despite the patient communication challenges associated with them. Traditional physicians may still have security and compliance concerns, despite Augmedix’s solves for them. Likewise, some critics have theorized that the technology doesn’t have the wireless connectivity or the battery life needed to keep up with the fast paced daily routine of the physicians that will need to utilize the technology, particularly in critical care areas like the ER or OR. Effectively touting the HIPAA compliance and usability of the product will be vitally important in establishing trust for the brand.
No matter the type of technology, this will be an important year for healthcare technology companies and an interesting one to watch as our top five brands continue to rise to fame in 2016.
What brands are you watching this year? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.