Singapore-based data science and healthcare technology company Holmusk has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Singapore’s National Healthcare Group (NHG) and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), to jointly develop innovative solutions for mental healthcare.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT
The MoU outlines a shared vision to use digital technology, data and predictive analytics to help improve the mental health and well-being of the population. Building on its evidence generation platform (NeuroBlu) and digital therapeutics platform (mConnect), Holmusk will work closely with NHG and IMH to co-develop tools that aim to enable earlier detection and intervention in mental health disorders such as depression by using advanced analytics.
They include identifying and validating novel digital biomarkers for mental health through the use of integrated and protected data from clinical records and smartphones, which can provide a more objective measure of an individual’s mental state, as well as conditions including depression and schizophrenia.
Holmusk, NHG and IMH will also co-develop a suite of digital therapeutics and tools for mental healthcare that can be used in hospitals and clinics across primary care and community settings, beginning with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
WHY IT MATTERS
According to the 2016 Singapore Mental Health Study, about one in seven people in Singapore has experienced a mental health condition in their lifetime. Despite MDD being the most common mental disorder, a high proportion of people with mental disorders, including MDD, do not seek help, thus resulting in a significant treatment gap. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health, with more people seeking help for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
THE LARGER TREND
In November 2020, Holmusk partnered with German pharma and life sciences giant Merck to support patients and physicians in Asia-Pacific with a holistic treatment approach for prediabetes and diabetes, MobiHealthNews reported.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has pushed digital health to the fore, especially mental health and more and more people are turning to relevant mental health/wellness apps to help them cope better with mental health ailments. Examples of these include Intellect’s CBT-based digital therapy app, Doctor Anywhere’s online mental health consultation service and MindFi’s Mindcare mindfulness mobile app.
ON THE RECORD
“Holmusk is committed to bring its existing assets and deep expertise in data analytics and digital technology to transform mental healthcare. We believe that using technology to generate novel insights will transform our current understanding of mental health and lay the foundation for a whole new generation of treatments,” said Nawal Roy, Founder and CEO at Holmusk. “Care teams will be able to identify patients with more urgent needs, allowing these patients to get the right support in a timely manner.”
“Digital technology will change how mental health conditions are diagnosed, monitored, and even treated,” said Professor Benjamin Seet, Deputy Group CEO (Education and Research) and Group Chief Research Officer at NHG. “Our partnership with Holmusk is game-changing. Coupled with Singapore’s strong healthcare, IT and data infrastructure, we are well-poised to break new ground in this exciting space.”
“Clinicians need corroborative information from as many sources as possible in psychiatric assessments. Digital biomarkers will be yet another source and can supplement clinical expertise to help us reach an accurate diagnosis and also monitor our patients closely. This, together with a digital suite of care services, signals the potential for a more personalized treatment for patients,” said Professor Chua Hong Choon, Chief Executive Officer, IMH.