by Katherine Grill, PhD, Neuroscientist, Integrative & Behavioral Specialist, Founder @ Neolth Today’s clinic experience has a few vital flaws that prevent patients from receiving holistic, affordable, 24/7 individualized care. Making changes would not only improve patient experience and outcomes, but effectively combat the chronic disease epidemic. Currently, healthcare is symptoms-based. Patients with chronic disease are assessed based on physical biomarkers and given treatments that address physical health: medications, medical procedures, even exercise and nutrition interventions. Standard of care does not include emotional support. What’s sorely missing from the clinic workflow, even missing from digital health interventions on the market, is holistic care for chronic diseases. Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer, chronic pain, or heart disease. It’s an incredibly stressful experience. For these people, physical treatment alone is not sufficient. There are over five million peer-reviewed research studies demonstrating the positive effects of integrating stress management into chronic disease care. For patients, this type of care is associated with improved emotional health, quality of life and even physical improvements. So our question at Neolth is, if we know stress management is so beneficial, why is this type of holistic care management for chronic disease not standard of care? The answer is due to a combination of time constraints within clinic visits and financial limitations. There is simply not enough time to work with a patient to develop a stress management plan during traditional 15-minute clinic visit. The only thing physicians can do is verbally recommend stress reduction. Unfortunately, stating “Reduce your stress” without subsequently connecting patients to an intervention is not helpful. Some clinics are fortunate to have access to in-person stress management programs. While these programs can be effective, they are expensive ($500-3000) and require in-person appointments one or more times a week. These are major barriers to patient engagement. A prescription to a digital, at-home stress management program is a great first step for improving the clinic experience. This provides patients holistic support for living with chronic disease and helps them engage in self-management between office visits. It allows 24/7 access to the program, rather than the burden of attending in-person appointments. It’s also much more affordable. But this in itself is still not enough. Such a program must provide individualized care. Clinics today often provide standardized care based on a patient’s diagnosis. But patients are more than their diagnosis. When creating an at-home care plan, we must consider an individual’s emotional and behavioral health in addition to their diagnosis: individual differences in their coping behaviors, stress level, emotional awareness, and support systems that influence the design of their care plan. While this is possible through one-on-one work with integrative specialists, it’s more convenient and affordable to utilize technology. This is exactly what we’re doing at Neolth: improving chronic disease care by providing access to holistic, affordable, at-home stress management. We’ve built a digital stress management platform that is integrated into the clinician’s workflow. With Neolth, when a clinician tells a patient to reduce their stress they can follow up with a prescription to our medical stress management platform. Clinicians don’t need to change the structure of clinic visits. It’s as simple as one-click prescribing or handing the patient a written prescription code for Neolth. The whole process takes less than 60 seconds. Additionally, our monitoring component allows providers to track changes in patient health status and behavior, detect emotional risk factors for future health complications and intervene as needed. Neolth not only saves providers time, as they don’t need to work with patients directly to build and continuously update a stress management plan, but Neolth saves patients time and money. Patients don’t need to schedule weekly or bi-weekly appointments for an in-person stress management program. They also don’t need to pay the high fees associated with group or one-on-one care. Patients can access the Neolth platform from home 24/7 for convenience and optimal engagement. Most importantly, Neolth gives patients access to the highest quality, integrative care at an affordable price. Paying for one-on-one visits with an integrative specialist costs up to $500 an hour. Neolth uses cutting edge technology to automate the work of an integrative specialist. Our clinical decision making algorithm uses medical expertise, AI and patient feedback to personalize and update stress management plans for patients. Each patient gets personalized care plans that go beyond diagnosis, evaluating physical, emotional and behavioral characteristics to build customized at-home stress management plans. Our personalization algorithm allows us to use Neolth as a transdiagnostic intervention, which means we work with patients with various diagnoses including cancer, chronic pain and heart disease. Through the use of innovative behavioral and human-centered design, we engage patients in a collaborative care model to build and continuously improve their at-home stress management routine. By incorporating patient feedback into our algorithm, we improve patient satisfaction, engagement and outcomes. Our mission at Neolth is to use technology to increase access to affordable, personalized medical stress management. By creating digital interventions for at-home care, we can give emotional support to patients living with chronic diseases. We can prevent future medical complications related to stress, such as decreased quality of life, reduced physical health, or the development of comorbidities. Ultimately, we can effectively combat the chronic disease epidemic. We can do this by making stress management a standard of care lifestyle prescription for patients, to address stress as a root cause of disease.
By Katherine Grill, PhD, Behavioral Neuroscientist, Integrative & Behavioral Specialist, Founder, Neolth Inc. Neolth is your digital platform for personalized stress management. Made by doctors, for you and your doctor. That's the Neolth difference. Launching Spring 2019. See more at www.neolth.com Stress Management: Why it's So Important We’ve all heard that stress is bad, but here’s why it’s worse than you think. Stress is not just a cognitive or emotional state. Stress is a series of physical processes in the body. Stress activates sympathetic nerves, which leads to the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. High levels of these hormones can cause wear and tear on the body, including a weakened immune system . Long-term stress leads to the inability of the prefrontal cortex to control other areas of the brain, which results in high levels of fear and anxiety as well as difficulty controlling emotions . We see this pattern of brain activity in many psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety. If left untreated, chronic stress can lead to organ dysfunction . All vital organs are at risk because they are all connected to the sympathetic nerves. That’s why stress is a risk factor for the development of health conditions like heart disease, IBS, chronic pain, cancer, depression and more. You Have the Power to Take Control of Your Health Engaging in stress management helps you learn the skills of emotional awareness and self-regulation. By doing so you not only reduce your mental distress, but you can physically change your body. Overtime, practicing these techniques causes the brain to change . It undergoes something called neuroplasticity, a fundamental rewiring of the connections in the brain. The prefrontal cortex gains better control over the rest of the brain, which means you can get rid of excess fear and anxiety. When you are in control of your emotions, you prevent the autonomic nervous system from being overactive. You prevent the release of high levels of hormones that weaken the immune system and harm your organs. You can reduce symptoms of mental or chronic health conditions and you can prevent the onset of future illnesses. The Neolth Difference Not all stress management programs are alike. Most programs use a one-size fits all format. Most programs are not recommended and monitored by your doctor. Many programs are not created by healthcare professionals. Neolth is different. 1. Your personalized stress management plan is created by our medical experts and updated from your feedback. We do this to promote patient autonomy , because it's important that your voice is heard. 2. We have multiple types of stress management practices, like journaling, breathwork, guided imagery, creative art, mindfulness, CBT and meditation . With Neolth, you'll discover what works best for you. 3. We encourage self-care tracking and sharing : record when you go for a run with Strava, listen to music on Spotify, or make a craft from Pinterest. Use #selfcareshare @neolth to let your friends and family know you're serious about prioritizing your well-being. Neolth isn't just a digital platform, it's a movement . 4. With Neolth, you'll improve communication with your doctor . Not only do you get scientific reports to visualize your progress, but your doctor gets these reports as well. In fact, your doctor can actually prescribe Neolth for support managing your stress-related illnesses, because our platform is HIPAA compliant and clinician monitoring is reimbursable. Neolth is transforming healthcare by facilitating prescriptions and support for one of your core health behaviors - managing stress. Neolth is made by doctors, for you and your doctor. That's the Neolth difference. Our Mission, Our Moonshot Our goal is to seamlessly integrate stress management into medical care for people living with mental or chronic health conditions. No one should have to suffer because of untreated stress. We have the scientific knowledge about how reducing stress improves our health, so let's put it to use. In addition to the care you are already receiving, like medications or therapy, you can use Neolth as a wellness amplifier in between office visits to your doctor. You have the power to take control of your health. You have the power to reduce your stress. You have the power with Neolth. Neolth is your digital platform for personalized stress management. Made by doctors, for you and your doctor. That's the Neolth difference. Launching Spring 2019. A Startup Health company powered by AWS Activate. See more at www.neolth.com
Our founder, Dr. Katherine Curtin, was interviewed by StartUp Health about neuroscience and Neolth Inc. Here's what she had to say: "The greatest challenge about working in the brain health space is the unknown. We’ve made incredible advances over the past 30 years in the field of neuroscience, but we still have far to go. More research is needed, particularly in psychiatry, to understand the brain circuitry involved in medical conditions, how this changes over time and how this differs on an individual basis.
While this unknown is a challenge, I also see it as an incredible opportunity. There is so much room for innovation within the brain health space. I find my field, Behavioral Neuroscience, exciting because we have the chance to be the link between biology and behavior. Behavior change is one of the most difficult areas within healthcare. The more we understand about the brain basis of behavior, the more we can develop targeted behavioral interventions that facilitate neuroplastic changes for improved health. This is what we’re doing at Neolth, using brain-behavior insights to provide personalized stress management plans for patients. Together with the Startup Health community, we’re making stress management a part of routine medical care." You can read the full article here: https://hq.startuphealth.com/posts/brainiacs-10-digital-health-innovators-unlocking-the-mysteries-of-the-brain-to-improve-health