Giving out ‘dangerous medications’ like ‘candy’ aggravates the mental health crisis

… Behavioral and Medical Solutions, Cigna), Blake Wu (Investor, New Enterprise Associates), and Danielle Ramo (Director of Research Operations, …

At Invent Health, investors say it’s scandalous to abuse citizens by pushing pharma-therapy

Last week, Vator and UCSF Health Hub held our first salon of 2019 called The Future of Mental and Behavioral Health, where VCs, innovators and adopters (payers/providers) discussed how mental and behavioral health startups are creating solutions to help those suffering from mental health conditions.

The second panel of the night, moderated by Bambi Francisco Roizen (Founder & CEO, Vator) and Archana Dubey (Global Medical Director at HP), featured panelists Alex Morgan (Investor, Khosla Ventures), Lynne Chou O’Keefe (Founder and Managing Partner, Define Ventures), Eva Borden (Managing Director, Behavioral and Medical Solutions, Cigna), Blake Wu (Investor, New Enterprise Associates), and Danielle Ramo (Director of Research Operations, Hopelab).

One of the biggest, and more controversial aspects, of the way we treat mental health in this country is the over-prescription of psychotropics, which Francisco brought up, noting a blog post from Quartet Health that said that 70 percent of all the prescription medication antidepressants come from primary car physicians, not mental health experts.

“How do we equip the providers? Everybody’s aggregating all these therapists, getting all of these digital technologies together, but that’s not access if more people are going to their primary physicians. How are we helping these PCPs at the front lines?” she asked, to which Dubey agreed, calling “the primary care physician dilemma, in which you don’t have the tools, the time and the education.”

Morgan spoke first, voicing his displeasure with what he perceived as “equating availability of pharmaco therapy at scale with a healthy healthcare system.”

“Anyone here, you should never discontinue any medication given to you by a provider, however, if you have a situation where, in some populations, 10 to 15 percent of youth are diagnosed with ADHA and treated with very powerful psychoactive substances, it is not an indication that the system works,” he said.

He pointed to Japan, which is where he said methamphetamine was discovered, where tjey have also totally banned Adderall even with a doctor’s prescription.

“These are dangerous medications given out like candy. If you look at the research that’s done on the law of antidepressants; if you’re in an antidepressant trial, all the of the patients turn out to be able to unblind themselves to the placebo group, and if you know that you are getting treatment that affected your feeling, it’s very hard to get a sense that that actually is a significant benefit that you are obtaining,” Morgan said.

“There are lots of wonderful things, and anti-psychotics that are like magic in many patients with schizophrenia, that help many people, but the rate at which we’re giving out medications where I think the supporting evidence or efficacy is not sufficient, is, I think, a huge scandal. If I were to short end the industry, I don’t have the timescale of the decades ahead, it may be like like the prescription epidemic with opioids and we will see an issue in the decades ahead that we are terribly abusing our citizens by pushing pharma-therapy. So, what you said about PCPs giving medication, I want to say that’s not equating with goodness.”

Francisco responded that she agrees with what he was saying, and all that she meant was that PCPs are the ones giving out these drugs and that they are under pressure from various groups to show results.

“The problem is PCPs don’t have time and they have ROI and it comes down from their health plans and the insurer that we want evidence. They don’t have time so they have to push these medications. We are not for that. In fact, that’s what this entire salon is about,” she said.

Ramo spoke next, and reiterated the point about the pressure put on physicians to make money and to show results, and how that can manifest itself in prescribing drugs for a faster solution, particularly when it comes to working with adolescents.

“A lot of what we know works for adolescent mental health problems in the area of behavioral interventions, work as well, or better than, medications,” she said.

“With adolescents, which is the space that we’re in at Hopelab, one of the biggest challenges for us is that most startups that we meet with would love, and sometimes their heart leads them to want to work with adolescents, in a space like ADHD, for example, but they can’t pay. And it’s really a challenge. So they end up pivoting, even when they want to go there first and we end up seeing the first trials being adults. So, we try to partner with organizations to maybe think about how, because we are driven by impact and not ROI, as an organization, we can work with someone who actually wants to make a change in adolescents, or move into an adolescent market, so that’s an opportunity.”

O’Keefe spoke next noting that digital health, in her belief, is over reliant on technology, and doesn’t take other important aspects into account.

“I don’t think it’s just technology and a smart team, you have to absolutely understand the healthcare system as an ecosystem and as a business, and then create technology as an enabler around that. This is where we get into trouble with digital health, and I will not go on that tirade, but when we think that technology solves everything, that is where things will not scale. I think we can all believe that in the heart of why we are in digital health, because digital health is so hard to innovate in, it’s because we want to impact people and we want to things that scale,” she said.

“The second layer we have to think about is the provider to provider interaction. Sometimes PCPs, through no fault of their own, they want to help them, they don’t have enough time, ad they don’t have enough clinicians that are specialized in this to actually have the consultations, to actually have the networks, because there aren’t enough clinicians in this space. I think we can solve some of those access problems via telemedicine and other ways, but, still, we have a small base of clinicians, so we need to develop and grow that base overall. There’s a whole class of companies, I put Quarter in that milieu of physician to physician, getting to the right network and getting people the right care.”

O’Keefe’s final point was that the really important aspect of getting people well are the social determinants of health, which is why she invested in a company called

And then there’s a whole other basis as well, is what I’m now calling community care. That’s actually the investment that I just made two weeks in a company called Unite Us, which is trying to become the network layer for all community service, which includes housing, food, and mental/behavioral health.

“Social determinants of health is actually 60 percent of your healthcare. It’s not your genomics, it’s not what happens in your clinicians office, it’s really the social determinants of health. So, UniteUs is actually creating the network layer around the social determinants of health, of which mental/behavioral health is one of those. They’re really tackling what I call community care around this. So, we need the individual, we need the physicians connected to one another, and then we also need the community connected to each other around this issue.”

Borden then reiterated O’Keefe’s point about the social determinants of health.

“The social determinants pieces becomes so critically important, and it’s often times, as I’ve met with different clients, gets very dismissed. “Oh, that’s the Medicaid population, they’re not my employees.” I was meeting with a group of about 12 clients around the room who had let’s say 50,000 plus employees. They were talking about a zip code in southern Chicago, which has pretty high murder rates, very traumatic type area. So, just growing up in this zip code oftentimes drives PTSD, trauma, etc. It’s interesting because as describe it you can sit there and say, “Oh, well, so glad you’re helping them.” Across the 10 or 12 clients, I was able to pause and say, “I just need you to know, eight of you have 50 or more of your people living in that zip code.” It’s not a them, it’s an all of us problem. And it’s hugely important in terms of, if I go back to what does it ultimately drive, the biggest spend is going to be that medical spend.

(Image source: twitter.com)

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Fintech Profile: Trueaccord Key Players: Yelp, Upwork, Felicis Ventures, Arbor Ventures, Index …

TrueAccord bridges the gap between creditors and their debtors, enabling creditors to improve debt recovery from bad debts. Scope. The report …

TrueAccord bridges the gap between creditors and their debtors, enabling creditors to improve debt recovery from bad debts.

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Okta Ventures Fund of $50 Million to Make First Investment in Trusted Key Blockchain ID Startup

The firm has also received funding from other firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and many others. There are …
Okta Ventures Fund of $50 Million to Make First Investment in Trusted Key Blockchain ID StartupOkta Ventures Fund of $50 Million to Make First Investment in Trusted Key Blockchain ID Startup

The Nasdaq-listed company Okta has decided to create a new $50 million VC fund and invest in early-stage technology startups. One of them will be the blockchain-based ID firm Trusted Key. However, the amount invested was not disclosed by the company.

Okta Makes Investment in Blockchain Firm

In a recent announcement made by Okta Ventures Fund on Wednesday, they mentioned that they have decided to invest an undisclosed amount in the identity firm Trusted Key. The blockchain startup was founded by former Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec executives and it aims at offering decentralized digital identity solutions.

Okta wants to start investing in blockchain-focused innovative companies in the market. At the same time, they will also be placing their funds in firms working on artificial intelligence and also machine learning.

Frederic Kerrest, the co-founder of the firm commented:

“In line with Okta’s vision of enabling any organization to use any technology, Okta Ventures will invest in the growing ecosystem of startups tackling issues like identity, security and privacy.”

Okta is also planning to provide support to the companies it has invested in. They will be using their software and searching for co-market opportunities.

Okta has already raised $229 million in funding as reported by Crunchbase. The firm has also received funding from other firms such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and many others.

There are different companies working with blockchain technology that are receiving funding from VC firms from different countries. As the market seems to be entering a new bull trend, investors are placing their funds in the space.

BTC, BCH, ETH and XRP Forecast Analysis: Today’s Top Crypto Price Predictions

San-Francisco-Based VC Fund —Okta Ventures, Invests in its First Blockchain Focused Startup

This huge investment was gotten from major investment houses and funds such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures. The San …

A VC fund has been set up by Okta, a provider of identity management solutions, which has its stocks listed on Nasdaq. The VC fund will be investing in early-stage tech startups. This includes those working in with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

The Okta Ventures Fund

Okta, which announced the launching of the Okta Ventures Fund, also mentioned that the fund has made its first investment. This investment was made in a blockchain-based identity startup Trusted Key. The amount invested was not disclosed by both parties.

Trusted Key which has ex-Microsoft, Oracle and Symantec executives as its founders, provides decentralized digital identity solutions which are aimed at making it possible for organizations to “work together as ecosystems to share strongly proofed user identities with user consent.”

The firm belief that the newly launched venture fund will allow it to invest and provide mentorship to startups with projects centred around building innovative solutions around its core businesses using blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Okta’s Co-founder and chief operating officer, Frederic Kerrest, further explained why the firm has decided to launch the VC fund. He said: “In line with Okta’s vision of enabling any organization to use any technology, Okta Ventures will invest in the growing ecosystem of startups tackling issues like identity, security, and privacy.”

Apart from providing these startups with investment capital, they will also be provided with additional supports which includes the use of its software and co-marketing opportunities.

187 Million Dollar IPO

Okta which was founded 10 years ago raised more than $229 million during its funding stages. This huge investment was gotten from major investment houses and funds such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures. The San Fransico based firm went public in the U.S in April 2017. The IPO saw $187 million raise and 11 million shares sold at $17 apiece.

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Tencent leads $16m Series C in US firm Academia.edu

The platform’s Series B round of funding was raised in 2013 at $11.1 million from investors, Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital and True Ventures.
April 2, 2019

US-based Academia.edu, a platform for sharing academic research papers, has raised $16 million in a Series C funding round led by Tencent Holdings, according to a report by Finsmes.

Joining the investment round is Social Discovery Ventures that invests in Internet based companies and helps connects people.

Post investment, Academia.edu’s total investment raised to date has reached up to $33.8 million.

Established in 2008, Academia.edu allows people to share their research papers, monitor deep analytics and track other research works.

Academia.edu claims that over 78 million academics have registered on its platform, with over 22 million papers uploaded on it.

The proceeds of the funding will be used to invest in the use of natural language processing and machine learning for the platform.

The proceeds will also be used to invest in the mobile application and the platform’s premium product suite.

As part of the funding round, Dr Ling Ge, chief European representative, Tencent, will join the board of Academia.edu.

The platform’s Series B round of funding was raised in 2013 at $11.1 million from investors, Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital and True Ventures.

Also Read:

Tencent-backed online education firm Koolearn files for HK IPO

China: Tencent-backed education startup VIPKID bags $500m Series D+

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