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Not Tomorrow, but Today — An NIMH Keynote Presentation

Friday, May 2, 2014


Karan and NIMHOur mission at is to drive better outcomes through passive mobile data and behavioral analytics. With the recent launch of our new programs in behavioral health, we were thrilled to give a keynote presentation at the 22nd National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Conference on Mental Health Services Research. Karan’s ( Co-Founder) presentation on the future of technology in mental health set an inspiring tone that together, we can tackle these challenges now. You can read more in the outline of his talk below.

For us, the conference’s most exciting aspect was this focus on how the health technology ecosystem is actually making tomorrow happen today. After countless great conversations, Karan and Ilan (Head of Research at came home with two key takeaways:

1) We’re not casting a wide enough net. Mental health interventions aren’t working for 80% of people.There is a big opportunity to better understand how we can help — and how new technologies can expand the tools we use to support those in need.

2) Identifying patients in need is a huge challenge. We have many ideas about new and innovative interventions, but we need to better understand who those interventions will help most. Making sure the right care reaches the right patients at the right time is key to advancing behavioral health care.

It was an honor to speak at NIMH MHSR 2014. We can’t wait to see the next wave of collaborations between technology and industry!

Karan Singh’s Keynote Presentation at NIMH MHSR 2014: It’s Not Tomorrow But Today


We see the following transitions that need to be made for change to take hold — and the companies that are modeling those transitions today.

Today vs. tmrw

EPISODIC VS. CONTINUOUS: health happens between office visits, but we’re largely blind to this reality. Fortunately, some companies are already facilitating continuous care:

Proteus Digital Health’s ingestible sensor brings continuous insight to medication adherence by tracking medication use, and alerting caregivers when someone may need support
Propeller Health’s GPS-enabled rescue inhalers provide continuous support to asthma and COPD patients through their mobile app, coaching, and clinician connection

SUBJECTIVE VS. OBJECTIVE: we don’t have objective tools for diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of behavioral health conditions. However, we are developing objective tools for other conditions:

Alivecor’s iphone EKG brings objective understanding to your fingertips by providing an easy way for patients to seamlessly generate heart health data for clinical analysis
CellScope’s digital otoscope brings diagnostic-quality data to remote care by empowering clinicians and other caregivers

REACTIVE VS. PROACTIVE: we’re waiting for people to show up in care settings after small issues have become larger problems. Thankfully, some companies are taking a more proactive approach today:

RecoveryRecord is empowering individuals with eating disorders. Through their mobile app, individuals can get support from the community or connect with therapists
Omada Health is digitizing the Diabetes Prevention Program with a human-centered design approach that brings online support and tracking tools
— ThinkFeelDo is enabling out-of-office web-based coaching

DOCTOR-ORIENTED VS. PATIENT-CENTERED: the patient experience is largely an afterthought for many health systems, but some people are starting to put the user back in the driver’s seat:

— Dartmouth’s Dr. Dror Ben-Zeev is empowering patients with different coping skills for mental illness
Akili has developed an immersive video game experience to treat ADHD and expand our definition of therapy
Bit Gym has developed an innovative user-centric experience encouraging people to participate in more physical activity

SMALL DATA VS. BIG DATA: we’re using DSM-V and subjective disease clusters to create broad segments of patients. Fortunately, we’re starting to utilize and understand the value of better data to inform care:

— The Health eHeart study is on a mission to gather data from over 1 million people to fight heart disease. This “digital Framingham” brings together citizen scientists, researchers and tech companies to change our understanding of heart disease
Flatiron Health is breaking down data silos for the 96% of patients who don’t participate in a cancer clinical trial with its cloud-based analytics platform

It’s invigorating to watch these companies and others create objective tools that generate continuous insights and fuel proactive, patient-centric care. However, the friction in the system is still holding us back from further innovation.


As he closed, Karan challenged the audience to think about how we could address and eliminate these frictions and drive change. The stimulating panel discussion following Karan’s keynote brought to light how people are thinking about these frictions today.

What do you think? How can we make the path towards innovation easier? What other companies are helping make transitions to tomorrow, today?