George Eleftheriou, CEO at Feel.
Feel: A Digital Therapeutic Solution for Mental Health Feel developed by Sentio Solutions Inc. took part in the 34th Edition of the WT | Wearable Technologies and proudly won the “Top Public Award”. The disruptive start-up founded in 2015 impressed the wearable audiences and jury of the Innovation World Cup Series with the emotion-sensing wristband and app, that allows continuous monitoring and real-time personalized interventions for individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. Feel made a big leap to the Semi-finals of the 11th IoT/WT Innovation World Cup®, stand among the promising winners of the WellTech Challenge and top the Healthcare category. Check out their story of success and explore how mental health issues can be solved with Feel.
1. HOW DID THE JOURNEY BEGIN?
Back in 2015, the co-founders of Feel, George Eleftheriou and Haris Tsirbas, both struggled with their mental health. Depressive burnouts and panic attacks led them to start psychotherapy. Even though it was a good investment in themselves, they quickly realized that there are many flaws in the healthcare system.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and patients rely on outmoded forms of analysis to diagnose, evaluate, monitor, and intervene in the treatment process. Unlike all physical disorders that can be monitored e.g. measure glucose in the case of diabetes, there are no objective data and tools for mental health and no mental health support outside the therapist office. More than that, an appointment at the psychologist most of the times is expensive. Therefore, many people end up without getting help. And this is what they decided to change together.
2. WHAT ARE THE MOST MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR?
Feel has been awarded and recognized as “TransTech 200” in 2016, “Pioneers Athens”, “Insurance Shaper of the Year 2017”, MITEF Greece Startup Competition and “Top Public Vote” Award at the 2019 US WT | Wearable Technologies Conference. Moreover, we have closed our seed round and have raised a total amount of $1.8 million from Anthemis Exponential Ventures, SOSV, Make in LA and angel investors.
3. WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACED IN YOUR JOURNEY?
We would say that stigma was a great challenge. We had prospective investors suggesting that we shouldn’t talk about personal experiences because it would hurt our chances of getting an investment or asking if we are still in psychotherapy to understand if we are “sane” or capable enough. The lack of objective metrics exacerbates this stigma, since mental health remains as something ineffable, something that cannot be quantified.
5. WHAT IS COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
The development of biomarkers for management and evaluation of mental illness, indicators of relapse, mood swings, depressive episodes, panic attacks and more.
6. WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
We want to elevate the digital era, in which even though there is plethora of solutions, there is still subjectivity, self-diagnosis and stigma. We strive to bring to life the Augmented Mental Health era. Our next step is to begin deployments with major Health Plans and Employers in the US and Europe.
6. HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE IOT/WT INNOVATION WORLD CUP®?
We are very excited to have won the “Top Public Vote” Award at the 34th WT | Wearable Technologies US. It shows that people really need such a solution. The Innovation World Cup® gave us the chance to spread our idea and vision to many more people. It was a great opportunity.
7. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE FUTURE IOT HEROES COMING FROM THE INNOVATION WORLD CUP®?
Choose a cause that you really care about. And choose people who care as much as you do for the cause to make a team.
Understand how Feel Wristband works and acknowledge the power of technology in recognizing human emotions. Enhance individuals’ mental well-being and learn to obtain a fulfilled life.
Michael Acton Smith, CEO at Calm.
Just a few years ago, it might have been a bit of a challenge to convince investors that a mindfulness app would end up being a big business ― but thanks to an increasing focus on mental health from both startups and larger companies, companies like Calm are now capturing the excitement of investors.
From meditation sessions like you might find on other apps to tracks called “sleep stories” designed to help people get control of their sleep, Calm serves as a suite of content for users focusing on mental wellness. It’s one of an increasingly hot space centered around mental wellness and maintaining a sort of mindfulness in the hope that it’ll convert into a daily habit and help people just generally feel, well, more calm. The company says it has raised $27 million in a new financing round that values it at a $250 million pre-money led by Insight Venture Partners with Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures also participating. Before this, Calm raised around $1.5 million in seed funding.
“There’s definitely a bias toward the physical body in fitness,” co-founder Michael Acton Smith said. “For a long time there’s been a certain amount of embarrassment and shame talking about our own feelings. A lot of people are realizing that we’re all, at different times, going through tough times. I think that’s part of the culture we’ve grown up in. Everything’s been about improving the efficiency and improving the effectiveness and the external circumstances. We haven’t considered the internal circumstances the same way. The same thing isn’t true of Eastern philosophies. This crossover is just beginning to happen in a big way.”
Tamara Rajah - Live Better With. Around 15 million people in England are currently living with a long-term health condition.*
Yet when it comes to the resources available to make everyday life run smoothly – from sleeping better to getting out of the house and even maintaining your sex life – help seems to be limited.
It's this forgotten side of care that entrepreneur Tamara Rajah set out to overcome when she founded Live Better With, a revolutionary healthcare platform dedicated to improving the day to day life of people with long-term conditions, such as cancer, dementia and the menopause. It wasn't until Tamara witnessed her own grandparents' struggle with cancer relief that she realised how much more could be done to help
'The medical side of care is well taken care of in the UK and US,' says Tamara, who left her role as a healthcare specialist to establish the site in 2015.
'But what about coming home? In reality, people with long-term conditions like cancer and dementia spend around 95 per cent of their time adjusting to the symptoms of the condition or the side effects of treatment outside the medical setting.'
That's where Live Better With comes in, whether it's providing practical solutions like non-medical products - curated by recommendations and categorised intuitively by symptoms - or services, like help with getting travel insurance when all you need to do is get away.
Tamara adds: 'We're talking about people living with certain conditions for five, 10 or 20 years. There are hundreds of simple things that can make it easier, like relieving fatigue and pain or just breaking down those frustrating barriers that could mean the difference between being able to take your kids to school and get to the supermarket alone.
Live Better With is a revolutionary healthcare platform dedicated to remedies and support that can improve daily life with a range of long-term health conditions
'Sometimes these are the things we take for granted but often they are the little things that give us freedom and quality of life.'
Live Better With is also a safe space for users and their loved ones to read informative articles or guidance about the conditions, written by a community of people overcoming the same daily challenges.
In four short years, Live Better With has gone from providing support for just one condition, cancer, to two more, menopause and dementia, meaning Tamara and the team are well on their way to the long-term goal of providing a service for every long-term condition'Cancer is a condition where we knew we could make a big impact,' Tamara now says of their rapidly expanding network
Live Better With is a consolidated place to find practical solutions, whether it's non-medical products or services, as well as discussion forums and articles offering advice and information
'Cancer is a condition where we knew we could make a really helpful big impact,' Tamara now says of their rapidly expanding network.
'We've seen the community talking about this condition alone quickly grow to over 70,000 people.
'After that, we wanted to replicate the offering for a very different condition, the menopause, where we recognised a significant lack of support in the work place and a lack of guidance on improving everyday symptoms.
'While it doesn't always come with a traditional medical diagnosis, it's a condition that affects half the world's population at some point in their lives with side-effects that persist over a really long time.'
Most recently, the site has expanded even further to include Live Better With Dementia.
Tamara explains: 'It was important to us to provide support for a condition that focuses just as much on the carer as it does on the people living with it.
'Our articles and forums are a particularly important resource and outlet for the loved ones of people living with dementia and we hope that the products will make a huge difference to the ways families and carers can provide support.'
Live Better With now serves an incredible 2.4million users per year, across over 50 countries.
And so far, they have been able to provide 250,000 products to help people living with long-term conditions.
'Our articles and forums are a particularly important resource and outlet for the loved ones of people living with dementia,' Tamara explains
Tamara says: 'We set out to solve a problem for people with a long-term condition. Now, it's all about how many of those people we can bring that solution to.
'Our mission is to reach every single person living with a long-term condition, which means LiveBetterWith is dealing with more diverse and underserved conditions, as well as reaching deeper into the communities in countries where we already work’
'Ultimately, it's our communities that enrich our content and drive product curation, so the more people we can reach, the stronger the support we can provide.'
BECKY FREETH FOR MAILONLINE
Josh Stein, CEO at AdhereTech.
AdhereTech’s smart pill bottle platform improved adherence and patient satisfaction among a small sample of multiple myeloma patients, according to a paper in the November issue of the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy.
This data has been roughly four years in the making, and stands the company’s first-ever peer-reviewed publication of adherence efficacy, AdhereTech CEO and cofounder Josh Stein told MobiHealthNews while teasing an additional, larger study data publication and strategic partnership news coming within the next several months.
Among the 40 participants recruited for the single-blinded study, 16 patients from each arm completed their treatment cycle and were included for six-month analysis. Among these, researchers reported that median medication adherence was higher among those provided the smart pill bottle intervention (100% versus 87.4%; p = .001), with the lowest adherence rate within the intervention arm reported as 91.8%. Those using the platform rated their experience highly in a post-study phone survey, with all nine respondents giving the highest marks to questions involving the technology’s ease of use and setup.
The annual cost of the platform and a single pharmacist intervention came to $1,210 per patient, and when paired with the 12.6% adherence improvement represents a $96.03 incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per percentage adherence. The researchers also noted a nonsignificant increase in the average number of lenalidomide therapy treatment cycles completed by the participants.
HOW IT WAS DONE
In the AdhereTech and Avella Specialty Pharmacy-supported study, researchers recruited adult multiple myeloma patients who were new to lenalidomide therapy within a single center. These patients were evenly randomized to receive either the intervention or a control.
This intervention primarily consisted of AdhereTech’s platform, a smart pill bottle that encourages adherence through light signals, audible chimes and text message reminders. The system also integrates with the pharmacy’s systems, and users a built-in cellular chip to highlight non-adherence in real time for the pharmacist. In the study, a pharmacist conducted a check-in with the patient if their weekly adherence dropped below 80%.
Researchers compared six-month adherence between these two groups, in addition to monitoring other outcomes such as ICER, patient satisfaction and treatment cycle completion.
THE LARGER TREND
AdhereTech and its smart pill bottles have been around since the earlier part of the decade, and just last year put together a growth equity round intended to support platform scaling and improvement.
The digital startup and some of its partners have previously put together white papers outlining treatment adherence and cost benefits among larger cohorts, and have more data in the pipeline for journal publication. In particular Stein highlighted another soon-to-be published peer review study that extends beyond the endpoints of patient adherence and experience.
“The really neat stuff is in addition to adherence, [the upcoming study] addresses other health outcomes for patients. What I mean by that is these medications and lifesaving medications, and they work really well. AdhereTech has lots of published data showing that we improve adherence and patient experience … for these patients, but what this next study shows is, additionally, the improved adherence on these lifesaving meds translates into set outcomes.”
Stein also took the time to tease new strategic announcements for the company set for announcement in the coming weeks.
“Based on ICER findings, there is an opportunity for a value-based contracting model with an [smart pill bottle] program to lower health care costs,” the researchers wrote. “While the study population was small, we postulate that other disease states with oral medication therapy requiring tight dosing windows (e.g., transplant immunosuppressants, opioids or novel oral anticoagulants), complicated dosing regimens or those with low adherence rates may benefit from [smart pill bottle] and pharmacist-targeted intervention programs.”