Startups, Patient Engagement

Valera Health launches study evaluating tech for newly diagnosed schizophrenia patients

Valera Health CEO Thomas Tsang said patients would be interviewed once they’ve been discharged after what would typically be a three month stay in the hospital.

emotionsBehavioral health startup Valera Health CEO Thomas Tsang said its software will be evaluated in a clinical study to assess the effectiveness of its approach for patients newly diagnosed with bipolar disease or schizophrenia. Tsang said they would be interviewed once they’ve been discharged after what would typically be a three month stay.

“Patients at this stage need a lot of support and we can provide it to them,” Tsang said in an interview at the MedCity INVEST conference in Chicago this week.

Patients would use Valera’s app to communicate directly with their care team, track wellness targets, and report their wellbeing, a company statement said. The app will assess patient behavior through patients’ level of activity based on smartphone sensor data. If there’s an indication that their condition is deteriorating, the app will inform the patient’s care team, sparking intervention earlier.

Dr. Justin T. Baker, director of Functional Neuroimaging and Bioinformatics for McLean’s Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Research Program, is the principal investigator for this study. His goal is to develop more effective strategies to both monitor the course of mental illnesses and intervene in creative ways to improve patients’ lives.

McLean is the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

Tsang added that the clinical trial would evaluate 100-200 patients. For the trial to be successful, there are three goals: clinical improvement; patient engagement and activation; and reduction in total cost of care.

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