How Ellipsis Health Will Change Behavioral Health Diagnosis

February 21, 2020

Alan

 

I'm visiting here today with Steven Cupps, he is the head of Business Development for Ellipsis Health. Welcome to today's show.

 

Steven Thank you so much for having me.

 

Alan

 

So Steven, I'd like to hear the background of how you got to the position that you're in today. What led up to this?

 

Steven

 

Behavioral health has always been a passion of mine. If you think about the entire ecosystem, and in healthcare, it's really the biggest unmet challenge today. And so what we're doing at ellipsis is we're harnessing the power of voice. What we're using right now to communicate, and our algorithms turn that scalable, consistent, vital sign for depression and anxiety.

 

Alan

 

That's a big area, depression and anxiety. How do you differentiate yourself from others in this world, because there's a lot of a growing need for that area?

 

Steven

 

Here's the story behind the company. My CEO, Mainul Mondal and his co founder, Dr. Mike Aratow, we're hanging out in a hospital. And what they notice was voices everywhere. Every doctor today uses voice. That's how you communicate, you know how you're feeling? What's wrong with you, all these different pieces, right? Similarly, it's what we do whenever we talk with any loved ones, you know, you pick up the phone, and you can immediately tell how your loved one is doing. But for all that rich information, it was only being captured analog. It's only what the doctors hearing and what they choose to write down. And we knew that there was a huge amount of signal and information. So we decided to move into that space. And why depression and anxiety? The reason why is because it's one of the biggest disease burdens in the world. If you look across the US, about 8% of individuals have a major depressive disorder in any given year. And if you add in anxiety you get close to 20% of the population. But you know, for cardiovascular disease, we have a blood pressure cuff. for diabetes, we have blood sugar readings, but we don't have anything for depression or anxiety. And so we saw that need and we saw that the technology was coming along so we decided to move into that space.

 

Alan

 

Can you pinpoint the cause of depression and anxiety statistically to say it's primarily caused by this as a chemical imbalance? Is it levels of uncertainty in the world we live today? What is it typical clinical patient like that your trying to address?

 

Steven

 

The thing with depression and anxiety, right? It's a disease, it's a imbalance within the brain. And that's one thing you asked earlier on how we differentiate ourselves. We're not looking at mood, we're not looking at happiness, sadness, anger, we're looking at clinical depression and clinical anxiety. And there are features of speech that come into play. So for example, with depression and anxiety, individuals who are depressed will use "I" and "me" more often than individuals who don't. Speech is just beautiful because it's one of the most complex systems that we have in the human body. And it's immensely conserved across populations. So speech is what makes us human, everyone who doesn't have a terrible disability, has speech on some way of being able to communicate. And it's something that actually contributed to how we evolved into homosapiens.

 

Alan

 

What is your process?

 

Steven

 

So the the first piece of that process is how do we get the speech? It's actually very easy. It's very similar to what you and I are doing today. So we have a system and it asks whether on an app or a computer, we ask the patient and user questions, how's your day? How are things at home, How are things at work, we want people to open up and kind of wear themselves on their sleeves when they're talking to our system. We only need two and a half to three minutes of speech, on average people speak to our system for eight minutes. And once we get that, we run it through our algorithms to get that consistent, vital sign. Now, how do doctors and everyone else use it? We use it to close to really big gaps in health care. The big question that I always think about is, in the US for behavioral health conditions, it's 11 years on average, between onset of symptoms, and the individual actually gain treatment. Why is that? It's not that we don't have effective treatments. It's that we don't have a good consistent, scalable way to identify people who are at risk. And we don't have any feedback for doctors so that if you're a psychologist or a psychiatrist, or a general practitioner, and you want to know how your patient's doing, you know, for a diabetic you have blood sugar, but for depression right now you don't have anything. So our clients are rolling this out in two ways. The first is that upfront screening part. So our vision is just like, every time you go into a doctor's office, you get a blood pressure reading, you will also get a depression and anxiety screen through the Ellipsis. Similarly, if you're under treatment, or at severe risk, think about a woman who's just given birth or individual who's just had severe surgery. And we know statistically that those individuals are at risk, right? If they were at risk for heart disease, you'd measure their blood pressure on a weekly basis. So what you do with them is you have them speak to our system on a weekly basis so that their care team can understand how they're doing and step in early before it becomes a crisis.

 

Alan

 

In this solution, are you looking at a technology and automation or is it always going to be a human touch where they come, talk and then the communication is unanalyzed?

 

Steven

 

We're starting to experiment more into that space. So there are a few things kind of in the hopper that that will be coming out later this year. But the one thing that we really believe in is health care across the US is different. There is no one size fits all. And so what we always do with our organizations, whether it's a national insurer or a local hospital system, is understand what's the right workflow for them, because if it doesn't fit into the workflow, it's going to get rejected. And so we've had, you know, very large insurers say, How can we use this to better direct people to the right resources, whether that's in person telehealth, digital coaching, there is a wide variety of new interactions. Similarly, we've talked with individual providers who are thinking about how do I use this to better understand who is the most at risk and who is actually doing pretty well.

 

Alan

 

How does a person learn more about you or find you if they want to inquire about servces?

 

Steven

 

We can be found online. That's kind of our portal. We've started leaving stealth mode earlier this year. They can also reach out to me at Steven@ellipsishealth.comTranscribed by https://otter.ai

 

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