From Disruption to Integration: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of Digital Mental Health

Karan Singh


Since the 1950s, the majority of innovations in mental health have been focused on the development of pharmaceuticals. But with nearly 1-in-5 Americans suffering from mental health illnesses and the cost of developing new drugs now exceeding $2.5 billion, the medical community is searching for new ways to understand, manage and treat behavioral health conditions. This includes management on both the individual and population levels. Additionally, today’s mental health patients have remarkably few tools to help them understand and manage conditions on their own—a surprising fact in an era defined by self-service and consumer apps. 

At, we empower patients to better manage their own mental health condition, and we empower providers to deliver better mental health care. Our unique approach combines leading clinical expertise with systems integration and user-centric design and engagement principles to support patients and providers across the continuum of care.

What we've learned along the way has been astonishing.

1. The smartphone is the most powerful sensor in health. It's always on, always near you, and can be trained to understand your behavior. It's the ultimate wearable that you already own and use—there is no hardware to buy, no behavior change to create, and no disruption to a patient's daily life.

2. In digital health, integrating with the existing health system is just as important as analyzing data and delivering insight. Disruptive paradigm shifts are hard, but we've learned you have to be part of the system if you want to change it. Helping partners understand how your solution can fit into existing workflows and solve real problems is critical to gaining widespread adoption.

3. Consumer-grade solutions in healthcare will be the winners of tomorrow. In a world where the lines between consumer and enterprise software are increasingly blurred (thank you Google, Dropbox, Evernote, etc) there is little appetite for poorly designed experiences on the patient side and great upside potential in business user adoption and engagement (i.e., providers). When you remember that the patient is the consumer in healthcare, and treat them as such, you see a number of positive long-term side effects in engagement, retention and care outcomes.

Mental health is a particularly difficult disease area to measure and manage effectively. But by following the lessons listed above, is making a real impact in patient's lives by empowering them to take charge of their own care and empowering their providers to deliver the right care to the right people at the right time. We invite others to learn from our experience and work to make healthcare a more effective and empowered experience for both patients and providers. 

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