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Confronting the invisible adversary in behavioral health with AI

Behavioural health

Mental health disorders, as a leading cause of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), significantly burden the global economy, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating an annual loss of $1 trillion in productivity due to depression and anxiety disorders. The prevalence of these disorders, such as depression, which affects over 264 million people globally, varies by region and is influenced by socioeconomic status, healthcare access, and cultural attitudes. High-income countries report higher prevalence rates, while regions like Western Europe and North America experience higher depression rates than East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, a variation attributed to differences in reporting and cultural factors. The economic impact of mental health disorders extends beyond healthcare expenses to indirect costs like lost productivity, with the U.S. alone seeing a $210.5 billion yearly burden from major depressive disorder as of 2010.

Holmusk, founded in 2015 by Nawal Roy and headquartered in Singapore, addresses this global challenge. Positioned in the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN regions, Holmusk leverages real-world evidence and AI-powered analytics in behavioral health. Their approach, aimed at standardizing measurements and enhancing care quality, has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes and reduce the economic burden of mental health disorders.

Pain point addressed

Holmusk addresses a critical pain point in behavioral health: the lack of standardized real-world evidence (RWE) for treatment efficacy and care quality, particularly in regions with diverse healthcare systems like Asia-Pacific and ASEAN. They focus on standardizing measurements for symptoms and treatment outcomes, enhancing care quality, and providing solutions for stakeholders like healthcare providers, payers, and researchers to improve treatment planning, risk assessment, and research in mental health.

Type of solution

Holmusk primarily offers a digital solution in the realm of behavioral health. Their approach focuses on leveraging real-world evidence (RWE) and AI-powered analytics to transform the landscape of mental health care. Key aspects of their solution include:

  • Holmusk’s core offerings revolve around software solutions like NeuroBlu, which provides data analytics capabilities. This software enables users to access insights quickly and efficiently, facilitating evidence-based decision-making in behavioral health.
  • Part of their software solution includes user-friendly features like no-code analytics and pre-designed study templates, which streamline the process of analyzing behavioral health data.
  • Holmusk also provides a service component alongside their software, where clients can work with their team of clinical and data science experts for tailored study designs and execution.
Source@ https://www.holmusk.com/solutions

Type of input data leveraged

  • Clinical data: patient medical records, treatment histories, diagnostic outcomes.
  • Behavioral data: patient behavior and lifestyle information.
  • Demographic information: age, gender, ethnicity.
  • Pharmacological data: medication prescriptions, dosages, responses.
  • Patient-reported outcomes: self-reported health status and treatment satisfaction.
  • Socioeconomic data: income, education, employment status.
  • Geographic data: regional and environmental impacts on mental health.
  • Digital health data: metrics from health apps and wearables.
  • Healthcare utilization data: hospital admissions, outpatient visit patterns.

Key technology leveraged

Holmusk leverages key technologies to enhance its behavioral health solutions.

  • AI and machine learning: for predictive analytics and pattern recognition in large datasets. For example, machine learning algorithms can assess patient data to forecast the likelihood of a relapse in mental health conditions, aiding in proactive care.
  • Big data analytics: to process and analyze vast amounts of health data. This involves using advanced algorithms to sift through and make sense of complex datasets, identifying trends and insights that inform treatment and research.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP): for extracting meaningful information from clinical notes and patient reports. This involves algorithms that can understand and process human language, turning narrative text into actionable data.
  • Cloud computing: for scalable data storage and computing power. It enables Holmusk to store large volumes of health data securely and accessibly, facilitating efficient data management and analysis.

Key applications of solution

  • Diagnostic assistance
    • AI algorithms analyze patient-reported symptoms to increase the precision of diagnoses. Machine learning techniques identify behavioral and symptomatic patterns, aiding in the early detection of mental health conditions.
  • Treatment planning
    • AI-driven analytics tailor treatment plans based on individual patient data, including health history and response to previous treatments. This approach allows for the optimization of medication regimes, enhancing treatment efficacy and patient outcomes.
  • Patient monitoring
    • Using digital tools such as health apps and wearables, track patients’ health metrics outside of clinical settings. AI models analyze this data to predict and provide early warnings for potential health crises or mental health relapses, facilitating timely interventions.
  • Drug discovery and development
    • Predictive analytics are employed to accelerate the drug discovery process. These analytics predict potential drug efficacies and patient responses, thereby streamlining the process and improving the chances of successful outcomes. In clinical trials, data-driven strategies are used to improve participant selection and monitoring, enhancing trial efficiency.

Implications for key stakeholders

  • Patients: Tailored treatment plans lead to better recovery rates and quality of life. For example, a patient with depression receives a customized care plan that significantly reduces their symptoms. Access to their health data and insights enables patients to actively participate in their care. A patient using the Holmusk app can track their mood changes and medication effects, enhancing their self-awareness and involvement in treatment decisions.
  • Healthcare providers: AI and machine learning tools assist in early and accurate diagnosis. A clinician could use Holmusk’s pattern recognition to identify early signs of bipolar disorder that might be missed otherwise. Streamlined administrative tasks allow healthcare providers to focus more on patient care. For instance, automated documentation reduces time spent on paperwork, increasing time for patient interaction.
  • Insurers: Predictive analytics can identify the most effective treatments, reducing unnecessary costs. An insurer could use data from Holmusk to adjust premiums or coverage plans based on proven treatment efficacy. Better patient data leads to more accurate risk profiling and management. Insurers can use patient monitoring data to predict health crises, potentially lowering the incidence of expensive emergency care.
  • Regulatory bodies: robust real-world evidence supports more informed healthcare policies. Regulators can use aggregated data from Holmusk to understand the effectiveness of different mental health interventions. Access to comprehensive data helps in setting standards for treatment protocols. For example, data showing the effectiveness of a new therapy for anxiety could lead to its inclusion in treatment guidelines.
  • Researchers: The vast dataset aids in identifying new treatment avenues and understanding disease mechanisms. A research team might use Holmusk’s database to uncover new correlates of treatment-resistant depression. The platform facilitates collaboration across institutions, enhancing the scope and impact of research. Researchers from different parts of the world could collaborate on a study using Holmusk’s global data.

Current impact

  • A real-world data analysis confirmed the potential benefit of a treatment for major depressive disorder, illustrating the practical impact of their data analytics on treatment methodologies.
  • A study revealed that clinical instability predicts psychiatric hospitalization, indicating the predictive power of Holmusk’s data in patient care management.
  • Holmusk was recognized as one of the most exciting and innovative health startups in the New York region, underscoring their impact in the field of health technology.
  • Holmusk joined forces with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Liverpool to establish a flagship mental health analytics and research hub.
  • Holmusk’s flagship offering, NeuroBlu, is powered by the world’s largest clinical behavioral health database of its kind, with over 20 years of research-grade, anonymized, longitudinal patient-level data for over 1.4 million patients. A peer-reviewed study published in The Lancet Psychiatry demonstrated that illness severity and instability are key factors in predicting the risk of hospitalization, a study made possible by NeuroBlu’s data. Holmusk has produced 44 scientific papers and presentations in the last year using this data.

Potential future impact

  • Holmusk could be at the forefront of integrating emerging technologies like VR/AR for therapeutic purposes, offering new ways to treat conditions like PTSD or phobias.
  • Utilizing their database, Holmusk could develop training programs for healthcare professionals, enhancing understanding and treatment of mental health conditions globally.
  • Holmusk’s insights could be used to develop workplace programs that reduce the stigma around mental health and promote healthier work environments.
  • By exploring the intersection of physical and mental health, Holmusk could contribute to a more holistic understanding of health and well-being.

Business model

Holmusk employs a multifaceted business model, primarily focusing on B2B and B2B2C approaches:

  • B2B Model: Holmusk offers analytics services and access to their NeuroBlu platform to healthcare providers, research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and insurers. This model ensures stable revenue through long-term contracts and high-value deals and fosters innovation and research opportunities.
  • B2B2C Model: Here, Holmusk partners with healthcare providers and insurers, who then extend Holmusk’s solutions to patients or policyholders. This approach broadens market reach, enhances the value proposition by improving patient outcomes, and creates a valuable data feedback loop to refine their offerings.

While not currently a primary focus, a potential B2C expansion could diversify revenue streams and provide direct consumer insights, further strengthening their market position and impact on behavioral health. This combination of business models positions Holmusk for sustained growth, leveraging both stable institutional contracts and the expansive reach of consumer-oriented strategies.

Funding and key investors

The funding journey of Holmusk, amounting to a total of $106.2 million raised over six rounds, is indicative of strong investor confidence and the perceived potential of their innovative approach in the healthcare technology sector. The latest funding round, a Venture – Series Unknown, completed on October 12, 2023, further solidifies their financial foundation. The investors in Holmusk include Veradigm, Novartis, Heritas Capital, Northwell Ventures, and Health Catalyst Capital.

Competitive differentiator

  • Unlike many platforms that rely on cross-sectional data, Holmusk emphasizes the importance of longitudinal data spanning over 20 years. This approach provides a more comprehensive view of patient journeys over time, which is crucial in understanding and treating behavioral health conditions, which often have long-term trajectories.
  • While there are many players in the health tech space, Holmusk’s dedicated focus on behavioral health, a field that historically has been underserved and complex to analyze, sets them apart. This specialization allows for deeper insights and more tailored solutions in this specific area.
  • Holmusk’s platform not only includes clinical and pharmacological data but also integrates patient-reported outcomes and psychometric scales. This holistic approach to data inclusivity is critical in behavioral health, where subjective patient experiences are as important as objective clinical measures.

Relevant regulatory and compliance requirements

  • HIPAA compliance (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): In the United States, compliance with HIPAA is crucial for protecting patient health information. This involves ensuring data security, privacy, and proper handling of Protected Health Information (PHI).
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation): For operations in the European Union, adherence to GDPR is mandatory. This regulation governs the processing of personal data and requires strict measures for data protection and user consent.
  • FDA regulations for digital health: If the solution includes aspects that could be considered medical devices or software as a Medical Device (SaMD), compliance with FDA regulations is necessary. This includes meeting standards for safety, effectiveness, and quality.
  • Data localization laws: Depending on the geographic location, there might be regulations requiring that data be stored within the country of origin. Compliance with these laws is important for international operations.
  • Cybersecurity frameworks: adhering to established cybersecurity frameworks and standards, such as NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), to protect data against breaches and cyber threats.

Partnerships and collaborations

Holmusk’s partnerships include:

  • Healthcare providers and hospital networks: integration into clinical practices and real-world data collection.
  • Academic and research institutions: collaboration for research and tool validation.
  • Pharmaceutical companies: support in drug development and clinical trials.
  • Mental health advocacy groups: understanding patient needs and promoting awareness.
  • Government health agencies and regulatory bodies: shaping public health policies and ensuring compliance.
  • Technology and AI companies: technological advancements and innovation.
  • Insurance companies: development of personalized insurance plans.
  • Global health organizations: addressing worldwide mental health issues.


Areas for continuous improvement

  • While Holmusk already utilizes NLP, there’s an ongoing opportunity to advance this technology to better interpret the nuances of psychiatric language in clinical notes. This could involve integrating more sophisticated AI models that understand context and sentiment more accurately, enhancing the quality of extracted data.
  • Implementing blockchain technology could revolutionize how patient data is stored, accessed, and shared, ensuring greater security and patient control over their data. This would be particularly impactful in behavioral health, where data sensitivity is paramount.
  • Developing machine learning models that are not just predictive but also personalized to individual patient profiles. This could involve incorporating more diverse datasets, including genetic and social determinants of health, to refine patient-specific treatment predictions.
  • As healthcare becomes more connected, focusing on the interoperability of their platform with various electronic health record systems and digital health tools worldwide would ensure broader applicability and ease of integration.




Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions, content, and analysis in my posts are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of any current or past employers or institutional affiliations. These posts, based solely on publicly available information, are for informational purposes and should not be taken as professional advice. All insights and conclusions are my personal viewpoints and should not be considered representative of any organizations I am or have been associated with. This content is not endorsed by, nor does it represent the stance of any affiliated entity.


Hiequity Team

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