INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

Bridging Behavioral and Medical Health: Highlights from Panel Discussion at HLTH

JUN 19
In a follow up to our most recent blog we wanted to share additional insights from a panel that received a strong level of interest and provoked a lively discussion. The panel included leaders from four innovative companies focused on identifying and treating behavioral health conditions and addressed the important role they play in helping individuals receive the correct medical care. Dawn Owens, President of TripleTree Holdings, moderated the panel that included:

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In recent years, treatment for behavioral health conditions has quickly moved out of the role of playing second-fiddle to other types of medical care. As the relationship between behavioral and medical healthcare has become more known, its impact on overall costs, quality of life and longevity are leading to rapid innovation in the space. Growing vendors such as the ones on the HLTH panel are leveraging digital technology to provide compatible behavioral health and emotional wellness solutions.

As discussed on the panel, behavioral health treatment historically has suffered from a number of different challenges in deploying treatment solutions at scale, including: under-diagnosis, access, stigma and inconsistent quality and effectiveness. Innovative alternatives created by the companies represented on the panel show significant early advancements on addressing each of these challenges. For example, traditionally, physicians were not equipped with the data tools to diagnose anxiety or depression in generally well-performing, healthy adults. As a result, according to Rob Rebak, CEO of AbleTo, “up to 50% of all behavioral health issues go undiagnosed”. New technologies are emerging that engage and assess large populations leading to findings that upwards of 20% of adults have “walking depression”. Results are even higher for certain populations as according to John Donahue, CEO of axialHealthcare, “78% of Medicaid members are anxious or depressed”. Also, the ability to deliver therapies through connected devices has greatly improved access. Patients can now receive help either through self-directed programs such as those offered by Happify Health, online telehealth, or texting by therapists/coaching (NOTE: Happify Health is a TT Capital Partners portfolio company). Similarly, by making digital care engaging and convenient, new technology solutions diminish the stigma associated with walking into a therapist’s office. Finally, by delivering scaled solutions, the panel’s companies solve for consistent quality that has the opportunity to translate into clinical effectiveness.

At first glance, the panel may appear to have the making for a contentious discussion among fierce marketplace competitors about what is the “right” delivery method for behavioral health and wellness. What we heard during the panel was quite the opposite. While all of the firms listed above approach the market with different solutions and levels of preventative care/treatment via technology and people-enabled businesses, the key theme we heard was collaboration.

The panel jumpstarted our thinking about the opportunity for industry collaboration and potential examples where cooperation could further advance improved patient outcomes. We believe the marketplace is large and requires separate, but connected, solutions for in-person, remote and even AI-enabled therapies. Discerning healthcare buyers are often amalgamating a variety of tools depending on the use case and member needs. Here are some examples where vendors’ differences may create opportunities for collaboration.

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TripleTree and TT Capital Partners applaud the passion each entrepreneur is bringing to solve the worthwhile challenges in providing behavioral health and wellness solutions at scale.
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Ryan Engle