As the country mourns the children and adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last week, the discussion surrounding that terrible event has turned to gun control, behavioral health and access to it. One mother’s blog entry about a troubled son she is afraid of sparked equal amounts of criticism and sympathy, and more debate about privacy and mental health legislation. It has also called into question whether there are any effective and ethical ways of identifying people at risk for this kind of behavior and ensuring they get proper help.
To the access issue, the Affordable Care Act is intended to provide greater access to healthcare and that would include behavioral health. Here are four startups that are taking a variety of approaches to behavioral health, from overcoming the problem of access to improving the quality of care.
Empower Interactive: The online behavioral health company offers a therapy program Good Days Ahead. The program offers an interactive online program that teaches coping skills for managing stress, anxiety and depression. It was originally developed by co-founder Dr. Jesse Wright, a professor in the psychiatry and behavioral health department at University of Louisville, with a focus on cognitive behavior therapy and computer-assisted therapy. Led by CEO Eve Phillips, the San Francisco-based company works with employers, insurers and providers as well as individuals. The online behavioral health startup joined StartUp Health’s Academy earlier this year.
iCouch: Brian Dear co-founded the online therapy company with Jessica Rios, a licensed psychologist. Designed to make therapy easier, its website allows users to choose male or female therapists from a pool of therapists it works with. Users select therapists based on experience and availability. It also helps institutions expand their home-health services. The startup was also a member of Blueprint Health’s inaugural class.
1DocWay: Led by Samir Malik, the CEO and co-founder, the Philadelphia-based startup provides access to psychiatrists for people who suffer from mood disorders through an Internet video linkup. Making healthcare more accessible to people in underserved areas is the company’s primary objective. It is focused on growing the business in areas where an urban hospital is surrounded by countryside.
AssureRx Health: The goal of the clinical informatics company in the Cincinnati, Ohio region is to provide treatment decision support with products to help physicians provide medications best suited to each individual with neuropsychiatric and other behavioral disorders. Its GeneSightRx ADHD product helps doctors select the best drug for patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder that won’t cause undesirable side effects and its GeneSightRx Psychotropic takes a similar approach for psychiatric drugs.