Founders: Ritvik Singh, Navya Singh, & Stan Miroshnikov
Pitch: PsyInnovations bring mental healthcare to your fingertips, using psychology to improve emotional wellness and enhance your performance.
Investments in healthcare startups increased from $4.1 billion in 2014 to a projected $12 billion in 2015. One of the most exciting areas of focus in healthcare relates to diagnostic capabilities that are delivered from smartphones, whether it’s tracking skin lesions that can turn cancerous or hardware plugins that can upload your blood work to a doctor for analysis. In the future, smartphones will be used as health hubs where people will be able to easily track their health, communicate with doctors and improve their wellbeing.
Mental health is certain to be one of the most exciting areas in healthcare that will be disrupted by the smartphone. It’s one of the few areas where diagnosis and treatment can be delivered virtually.
I imagine a future where health professionals will focus more on integrating smartphones into their practices as both an extension of existing patient therapy and communication. As a first step in this direction, therapeutic routines practiced on a smartphone may be helpful in addressing certain disorders.
To make mental healthcare more accessible to all.
In the future, no one will have to wait to receive mental healthcare. People will access care through their smartphones at affordable prices without waiting for appointments. Online self-based learning is growing rapidly, and people will want self-based mental healthcare as well. Therapists will have virtual offices where they can see many more patients.
Product Or Service:
We’re providing evidence-based psychotherapy through our mobile platform, wayForward. For example, someone who feels that anxiety has been holding them back in life during things like interviews, presentations and dating can come to wayForward and select a goal that they want to achieve, such as getting better at interviews. A session plan is created for this user and they can go through 5-10 minute sessions at their own pace.
The science behind this is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, which deems that changing your thoughts can change your behavior and your experience of anxiety. As the user goes through the program, they learn how to identify thoughts related to presentation anxiety, like “They might think I’m stupid.” Then, we systematically teach them how to replace these negative thoughts with something more positive, like, “Maybe 10% of people will think I’m stupid, but most won’t.” As this user makes progress, they’re asked to go out in real life and present in front of a large group.
Our algorithms customize the program so that the content starts based on the skills that the individual has achieved so far. For someone who wants more help or is struggling, they can get a personal licensed therapist to coach them through the program and ask them specific questions. From a therapist’s perspective, they can manage a huge number of patients through our interface as our algorithms identify users who need extra support, users who need motivation and users who are progressing well. Our analytics and machine learning algorithms will allow them to respond to users’ needs very efficiently.
Real And Vaporware:
We’ve already developed self-based, structured therapy sessions for anxiety, and the app is being beta-tested right now. We’ve started building the therapist platform.
We’ve gathered a very strong team with a variety of skill-sets and experience. My co-founder Navya is a psychologist who has worked closely with a number of underserved populations, from Rwandan genocide survivors to severely mentally ill patients in the South Bronx. She saw the gap of mental healthcare delivery due to the lack of clinicians, the stigma and the cost, and made it her mission to change the situation. This is how PsyInnovations was born. Our other co-founder, Stan, brings his technology expertise in as a CTO. And I bring my business and finance expertise as CEO. We also believe it’s essential to have a strong core of psychology for our space and we have a Board of Advisors with years of clinical and research experience in this domain.
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