Health IT

This company is using biometric data to address mental health

Medibio’s technology relies on biometrics (like a person’s heart rate and sleep patterns) to gain insight into factors influencing an individual’s mental health.

Mental health is not something that can be brushed under the rug. We’ve come to a point where we’re seeing how big of a role it plays in everyone’s lives and how crucial it is for people to get help when they need it. In the medical world, organizations are striving to integrate behavioral and physical health. More specifically, one company is looking at the intersection of mental health and biometric data.

Medibio is an Australian publicly traded company whose U.S. headquarters is in Savage, Minnesota. Its technology utilizes biometrics (like a person’s heart rate and sleep patterns) to gain insight about an individual’s mental health and the factors influencing it. For instance, a lack of sleep and too much sleep are tied to certain mental health conditions. The biometric data is gathered through the use of Medibio’s technology on a wearable, such as a Fitbit, Apple Watch or Garmin.

“What we’ve built realistically is [for] the patient to have an experience where they’re in control,” Medibio CEO Jack Cosentino said in a phone interview. “We derive insights from the user so they can make actionable changes to their healthcare.”

The company has three verticals.

The first is corporate health, in which it brings its technology to organizations and their employees via employee assistance programs. Its corporate health product launched last month. Medibio is also working on a consumer-oriented product, which Cosentino said will launch within the next 60 to 90 days. Finally, its third vertical is integrated health. This area encompasses clinical decision support systems that clinicians can use to manage their patients. The solution for the integrated health vertical will launch in the future.

As for clients, Medibio has worked with entities like Jacobs Engineering, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Rio Tinto, a mining corporation. It has also teamed up with the Australian Football League.

Speaking of athletics, Medibio has assembled a board of directors that includes Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who has become an advocate for mental health awareness. Patrick Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is also on the board.

Looking ahead, the company hopes to continue to partner with organizations, particularly those based in the Minneapolis area. It has already collaborated with Medical Alley Association, a Minnesota-based nonprofit focused on healthcare innovation.

In the bigger picture, though, its goal is to assist individuals suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety and other conditions.

“What we really want to accomplish is getting our products in the hands of people who need it,” Cosentino concluded.

Photo: Benjavisa, Getty Images