HealthRhythms, Inc., a pioneering digital health company that provides automatic assessment of behavioral health to healthcare providers, pharma, and clinical researchers, has been awarded a $2.1 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National Institutes of Health. They received the grant to develop and validate an automated recommendation engine that delivers highly personalized and context specific behavior change suggestions to patients with depression and anxiety. This funding will expand the company’s behavior analytics to create a mobile app that functions like a highly skilled therapist who tailors treatment to each patient’s needs.
HealthRhythms’ Chief Scientific Officer, Ellen Frank, says, “Our smartphones can tell us an enormous amount about our mental wellbeing. They sense key parameters of behavior on a 24/7 basis in our own natural environments. This is pivotal to more proactive healthcare and stands in sharp contrast to the sporadic, in-clinic measurement that characterizes mental healthcare today.”
HealthRhythms’ new technology will use sensed data to make behavior change suggestions that fit patients’ routines and lifestyle. This lifestyle tuning helps patients and clinicians understand not just what behaviors to change but how to achieve these changes – critical for patients with depression who often struggle to figure out what might make them feel better. HealthRhythms’ CEO, Tanzeem Choudhury, has already shown that this method can help smartphone users with problems like weight control. She notes “More than half of those with depression – the leading cause of disability worldwide – don’t receive effective help. HealthRhythms wants to change that by making tracking behavioral health as easy as tracking steps.”