The world is seeing increasing rates of anxiety and depression, as well as increased substance abuse – much of it due to post-traumatic stress symptoms stemming from the current pandemic. That has sparked a new kind of pandemic, one that involves mental health.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, people with preexisting psychiatric disorders have recently reported worsening psychiatric symptoms. Additionally, studies investigating healthcare workers found increased depression, depressive symptoms, anxiety, psychological distress and poor sleep quality. Studies of the general public revealed lower psychological well-being and higher scores of anxiety and depression compared to before COVID-19.
This shines light on how mental health is treated, and on the lack of readily available treatment for the many people suffering from mental illness.
Roughly one in three Americans is showing symptoms of depression and anxiety, or both. Prior to the pandemic, some 60 million people in the US were said to suffer from mental illness or addiction; an already dire situation compounded further by a shortage of mental healthcare professionals, greatly limiting access to quality care.
With decreasing stigma around behavioral health and increasing demand for services, providers are being pressured to deliver quality care at a faster pace while lacking the tools to do so effectively.
This is where Israel’s Eleos Health comes in.
Eleos Health gives therapists a data dashboard to measure client progress. The start-up is already piloting projects with Yeshiva University and leading health systems across the US.
To date, the efficacy in the treatment of mental health, in comparison to other areas of healthcare, is underperforming with only 50% of behavioral health clinicians practicing evidence-based care and only 20% routinely measuring patient outcomes.
“Our heroes are the clinicians. They are being pressured to produce quality results, at a faster pace than ever before, but are lacking the tools to do so. They are on the front line, handling an exponential increase in patient data and we are here to empower them and help them to focus on what they do best - help people,” says chief clinical officer, Dr. Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit.
Eleos Health aims to address this problem by giving clinicians the tools to spend less time on administration, and more time on providing evidence-based care with measurable results, at scale.
The company has created an advanced system that combines technology with clinical practices to provide evidence and measurement-based care, in addition to teletherapy within one patient-centric and clinician-friendly platform.
The platform delivers real-time clinical insights based on its state-of-the-art, therapy-specific, voice analysis technology that accurately identifies the two dimensions most pertinent to the two areas with the highest impact on the outcome of psychotherapy sessions: the usage of evidence-based clinical treatment strategies, and the therapeutic alliance (the connection between the client and the clinician)
Eleos’s solution is designed to seamlessly integrate into the clinician’s workflow: a clinician will launch a teletherapy session or conduct an in-person session; the technology captures this session, de-identifies it, and sends it to the cloud. The data is then automatically analyzed using an AI-engine to produce a compliance-ready progress report and remote patient monitoring, which is sent directly to the patient for between-session checkups.
From both the clinician and the patient’s perspective, the therapy session stays exactly the same but rather the integration of the Eleos system aligns care so that both parties are aware of how they are progressing in treatment.
The company was founded by Dror Zaide, Alon Joffe and Alon Rabinovich. The founders came together to start Eleos Health based on their shared experience of being personally touched with family members, friends or colleagues who have struggled with behavioral and mental health illnesses.
“We’ve experienced first-hand the transformative power of quality behavioral health care, and we know the tremendous urgency of helping people get back to wellness sooner (rather than later),” said Joffe, the company’s CEO.
The three founders are veterans of some of the more elite intelligence and technology units of the IDF, and together with clinician Sadeh-Sharvit, have created a powerful platform that empowers clinicians to deliver personalized quality behavioral healthcare, more efficiently.
Zaide added, “When founding the company and looking at the challenges in the space, we realized the only way to make an impact on behavioral health outcomes is with technology that empowers clinicians. This must be done across the clinician’s workflow, between-sessions but also in-sessions with data that highlight those critical areas that need to be addressed with their patient.”
Today, the Eleos Health solution is deployed with leading health systems, telemedicine companies, community-based clinics, and academic training programs across the US supporting thousands of monthly clinical sessions with growing empirical and clinical evidence.
Eleos Health also enables more efficient training of student clinicians. YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York has partnered with the company to provide remote clinical supervision to social work students learning clinical skills during the COVID pandemic. The initial program involved 30 mock therapy sessions in which students took turns role playing therapist and client, with a YU professor taking on the role of supervisor giving real-time feedback and analytics through the Eleos platform, which is compliant with privacy and patients’ rights regulations incorporated in HIPAA and FERPA legislation.
Eleos is also partnering with a leading US health service on an implementation of new clinical software to assess and measure the impact of the pandemic on a specific patient population, augment clinical and organizational decision making, and optimize treatment outcomes. The results of the pilot will inform a larger, more comprehensive pilot involving a larger number of facilities, clinicians and consenting patients.
“We’re on a mission to help more people with mental illness get well sooner and ultimately play our part in solving the national behavioral health crisis. We are doing this by optimizing the quality and effectiveness of the care they receive, by giving clinicians the tools they need to deliver quality care and by helping to train the next generation of therapists- all at a scale not currently possible,” said Rabinovich.
The company raised its first round from lool Ventures, together with additional angel investors from Israel and the US, all with a background in healthcare. Another investor is Moshe Bellows with Maccabee Ventures.
As the world continues to suffer from this pandemic, companies like Eleos keep me hopeful and optimistic over improvement in the future of mental health care planning, treatment, and preventive measures during future potential pandemics.