Brain Health

Published

WellBrain-the upstream solution to the opiate epidemic

By WellBrain

Team Leader

Ruben Kalra, MD

Basic Information

Our Solution

WellBrain-the upstream solution to the opiate epidemic

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Our solution's stage of development:

Early
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Our solution:

WellBrain provides an upstream solution to the opiate epidemic through its proprietary, scalable digital health platform that decreases human suffering and optimizes patient function. Providers use WellBrain’s psychological assessment tools and personalized mindfulness training to help assess & strengthen brain health

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

Opiates are not solving the chronic pain epidemic and are creating secondary and downstream problems for the patients that are more costly than traditional methods including repeat emergency visits to the hospitals, depression, death, family, mental, and heroin addiction.  In 2015, there was over 50,000 overdose deaths, the highest on record.

Chronic pain is a problem greater than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined with over 116 million Americans who develop other problems such as depression and anxiety. 

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

By engaging physicians who take care of patients with chronic pain, WellBrain changes behavior by providing objective data on patient's brain health that  helps guide patients & physicians in the right direction. In an early interim analysis of WellBrain users on our MVP, we are seeing 31% of patients reporting a reduction in pain, 18% reporting a reduction in ER visits, & 13% reporting a reduction opiate use. These solutions can readily be applicable not only in the first world but throughout the developing world in a cost-effective & scalable manner

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

Reduction in opiate use

Reduction in pain scores

Improvement in functionality in those with chronic pain

Reduction in ER visits secondary pain and opiate overdose

Our initial target audience are the 100 million patients with chronic pain in the United States and eventually the 1.5 billion patients with chronic pain worldwide. We are deploying WellBrain through medical providers but already have interest from both employers, hospital provider systems, and insurance companies enabling a more rapidly scalable solution that can then be directed to patients worldwide in a low cost manner

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: Reduction in ER visits
    Measurement Plan: Track reduction in ER visits through built-in surveys in app (aim for 30% of users showing a reduction in visits to hospitals by at least 1-2 visits)
  • Outcome: Reduction in pain
    Measurement Plan: Track pain scores over time built into the app (e.g., have 30% of patients experience a subjective improvement in pain reduction, in year 1, increasing to 40-70% over time as product improves)
  • Outcome: Reduction in opiate use
    Measurement Plan: Track reduction in opiate use through surveys in app. Aim for immediate opiate Rx or usage by 20-25% for each patient who uses the program over 3-4 month period)
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Adult
  • High-income economies
  • Secondary
  • Non-binary
  • Suburban
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • Europe and Central Asia
  • US and Canada
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
  • Digital systems (machine learning, control systems, big data)
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Why our solution is unique:

We are the first provider supervised mindful meditation program to help patients manage their chronic medical condition. By customizing mindful meditations based on brain health (full patent filed) & incorporating partner biofeedback to measure one's ability to meditate (the first of its kind) and stress, we are able to gamify the patient experience and drive adherence and benefit to a patient population that generally would not consider mindful meditation in the first place. We want patients to meditate rather medicate.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Our solution aims to be reproducible on a worldwide basis that can either be text and local language driven and be accessible without the use of the internet. This solution will require some type of low cost electronic phone or other device which the world is soon progressing towards. Chronic pain manifests itself in many formats and on a worldwide basis impacts brain health.  We know WellBrain can positively impact this.

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How people will access our solution:

Currently, it is deployed through physician offices on an Ipad. The patient signs up if they are interested, receives an email with a link to download the app. We have short-term plans to add a direct to patient application as most of the world population has increased access to mobile. As a mission-driven company, we are committed to helping out the underserved and will strive to help out as many patients as possible regardless of their ability to pay. 

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Technology-Readiness Level:

9 (Commercial)
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http://wellbrain.io/

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wellbrain/id1072112207?mt=8

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Business Plan

Our organization:

For-Profit
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How we will sustain our team financially:

We have raised $1.1 million in seed capital from mission-driven investors, physicians, and a leading digital health accelerator in San Francisco. We have growing revenues from our growing cadre of physician clients and anticipate being cash flow positive by year-end with a small follow-on round in the works that will enable ongoing research, trials in other areas (Kaiser trial to evaluate benefit of WellBrain around surgery, Children's Hospital Oakland to evaluate for benefit of children with sickle cell anemia), and growth of sales team to accomodate increasing physician interest in WellBrain

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The factors limiting our success:

Long-term data

While we see benefit of WellBrain for patients in the short-term & are optimistic about the long-term, we do not have enough longitudinal data to see if benefit persists over time, which would be important in the long-term to be able to get the buy-in from more clinicians

Capital

While we anticipate being cash flow positive by year-end, we will need capital to help build content and phone based programs to help increase adherence and engagement for the product as well as robust data analytics to enhance machine-learning to help build a more helpful and personalized product for our patients

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How long we have been working on our solution:

2 years
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

We have already developed a pilot.
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

We have already scaled beyond pilot.
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Our expected annual budget:

$750000

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How much of our budget we've secured to date:

$200000

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http://www.wellbrain.io/#video

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Brain Augmentation
  • Chronic Diseases
  • Behavioral / Mental Health
  • Substance Use / Addiction
  • Digital Health
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Why we're applying to Solve:

We want to help scale WellBrain to help as many people around the globe who may suffer from a chronic medical conditions and provide them with a personalized tool to help strengthen their brain health and help alleviate anxiety, pain, depression, and PTSD. The ecosystem of MIT Solve partners that may enable collaborating, understanding of markets outside the United State, scaling, and funding is why we are excited to apply for the Brain Health Challenge

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Our current partners:

20 physician groups around the country including some of the biggest groups of pain physicians as well as use by psychologists 

Kaiser- tentative plans for trial looking at use around surgery

Children's Hospital Oakland- tentative plans for trial looking at sickle cell anemia

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Solution Team

 
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