Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Research partners include UC San Francisco, Partners HealthCare, Duke University, UC Davis and University of Nebraska Medical Center
San Francisco, Calif. – Ginger.io, the leading digital behavioral health solution, announced a series of new research collaborations today and released early findings from several ongoing research engagements. The newly announced institutions include UC San Francisco, Partners HealthCare (Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and McLean Hospital), Duke University, UC Davis and University of Nebraska Medical Center. With these and other collaborations, Ginger.io is now working with more than half of the top 10 academic medical centers in the U.S.
“Like providers, academic medicine is looking for better ways to understand how patient behaviors affect health outcomes,” said Dr. Anmol Madan, co-founder and CEO of Ginger.io. “Ginger.io’s smartphone app and analytics engine is essentially a new class of microscope that helps quantify and understand real-world behavior at scale, in many different disease areas. For our academic partners, this offers new insight about clinical characterization, and it may lead to better diagnosis and new therapeutics and interventions for these conditions.”
The announced partnerships are using the Ginger.io platform in one of two ways, said Dr. Ilan Elson, Head of Research and Development at Ginger.io. “Our partners are either deploying Ginger.io’s existing core behavioral health (i.e., mental health) programs in new and exciting ways, or they are using the Ginger.io platform on new conditions like heart disease and chronic pain.”
UCSF is one such institution deploying Ginger.io’s behavioral health application in a research setting. Drs. Patricia Arean and Adam Gazzaley and their teams at UCSF have launched a study to measure digital interventions in patients with major depressive disorder. The multi-arm clinical study involves hundreds of patients recruited online and delivers interventions exclusively through remote digital channels, with no face-to-face interaction between doctors and patients.
“We’re very excited about the approach Ginger.io is taking to engage patients suffering from depression,” said Dr. Patricia Arean, Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF. “Patient feedback on the experience has been overwhelmingly positive thus far, and we’re excited to learn more about what digital interventions can do for mental health.”
Just outside of Boston at McLean Hospital, Chief of McLean’s Psychotic Disorders Division Dr. Dost Öngür is leveraging the Ginger.io platform to conduct research on how to reduce hospital readmissions for patients with psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. By detecting early warning signs that someone is struggling to manage their illness, Dr. Öngür hopes his work will lead to the ability to better identify patients in need, and deliver effective care before hospitalization is needed.
Beyond mental health uses, several institutions are using Ginger.io technology in diverse disease areas to more effectively connect the dots between patient behaviors and specific health outcomes.
Researchers at UCSF, for example, are collaborating with Ginger.io to help patients suffering from heart disease, multiple sclerosis and post-operative recovery. As part of the Health eHeart Study, for example, Ginger.io is helping world-class cardiologists detect early-warning signals for the development and exacerbation of heart disease.
“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and the developing world, and identifying heart disease risks and addressing them in advance is much needed,” said Dr. Jeffrey Olgin, chief of the UCSF Division of Cardiology and a principal investigator of the Health eHeart Study. “Our ultimate goal through this study and others is to provide a thermometer or ‘check engine’ light for people to be empowered in managing their own health and risk.”
Researchers at Duke University also see the potential of Ginger.io to help patients in postoperative recovery settings. Patients undergoing joint replacement surgery use the Ginger.io app to track their recovery, pain and return to functionality. By identifying which patients need the most help, providers can streamline the recovery process and deliver the right level of care to patients who are in the most need — with the added benefit of reducing unnecessary visits for healthy patients.
“We’ve been impressed by the results of the Ginger.io platform in other disease states, and we look forward to exploring its potential to streamline and improve perioperative care of our total joint arthroplasty patients,” said Dr. Chad Mather, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. “The ability to passively monitor our patients could represent an opportunity, if confirmed in clinical study, to transform the way we care for our patients postoperatively.”
Many Ginger.io research partners are publishing their results based on findings and insights driven by Ginger.io’s data collection and machine learning analytics engine.
Drs. Laura Tully, Cam Carter and Tara Niendam of UC Davis, for example, recently shared their findings from a partnership with Ginger.io in an early psychosis study. Results announced at this year’s Society for Biological Psychiatry showed the identification of specific “smartphone signatures” and patterns of behavior for symptoms of psychosis in adolescent populations.
At the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Kaleb Michaud found success with Ginger.io in an older patient population along with patients participating in the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases. A poster presented at the European League Against Rheumatism conference this past summer showed a number of correlations between arthritis pain levels and patterns of travel and communication as measured by the Ginger.io app on a patient’s smartphone.
“This isn’t science fiction,” said Dr. Elson of Ginger.io. “We’re touching a huge number of patients in a wide array of clinical settings. Working alongside our partners, we’re having a real impact on population health management and improving patients’ lives—in some cases almost immediately.”
“The diversity of these deployments is what’s really exciting,” Dr. Elson continued. “We’re going into complex settings with different care delivery models and unique patient needs, and we’re still making a difference in relatively short order. It’s a testament to the strength and flexibility of our platform and our clinical approach. This could be a turning point in the history of healthcare delivery, and that’s very exciting for us at Ginger.io.”
About Ginger.io Ginger.io uses patient smartphones to improve behavioral health in primary and specialty care. Through passive data and deep analytics, this mobile application identifies patterns in patients’ behavior and mental state that may impact their health and well-being. Providers can use the Ginger.io platform to reach out when patients need support and deliver the right care at the right time—building a stronger connection between patients and providers. Ginger.io is currently working with leading U.S. healthcare institutions including Kaiser Permanente, UCSF, Novant Health and Centerstone/CRI. A spinoff from the MIT Media Lab, Ginger.io was recently named one of The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare by Fast Company. Learn more about Ginger.io at www.ginger.io