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Empowering mental wellness with digital screening

Helping Medibio improve mental health outcomes by reforging its development effort

The challenge

Gracefully execute a high-stakes mental health technology pivot, maximizing the value of the work done to date.

The outcome

Next Mile helped Medibio successfully recover its digital effort. Today, Medibio technology prevents needless suffering, detecting issues earlier and more objectively than before.

Accomplishment data

Next Mile helped Medibio reestablish momentum:

  • Successful executive transition. Next Mile elicited and preserved mission-critical operational information, then quelled chaos in the technical organization.
  • Reorient delivery targets. Collaboration with senior leadership produced refined business goals, which we turned into prioritized technical objectives instead of an ever-expanding to-do list.
  • Delivery rhythm re-established. Medibio’s technical team and its external vendors began making focused deliveries that produced positive end-user value.
  • ~$40M investment recovered. Spiraling out of control was a serious risk, but Next Mile helped Medibio recuperate and move forward.

Medibio reoriented, moved forward confidently, and reacquired momentum quickly—all without forsaking prior efforts.

Medibio: challenging mental health’s disorder

Feeling blue

When a mental health problem grips you, its debilitating symptoms can manifest at any time or in any way. But when providing help, doctors can only measure a persistent affliction in brief visits using information you volunteer.

Similarly, care providers can only measure treatment effectiveness in snapshots which occur months or years apart. If you’re having an abnormally good day on your 6-month checkup, responding to your doctor’s question with an “okay” instead of a “bad” can unexpectedly alter your long-term prescription.

Medibio’s breakthrough

Outside of extreme cases, every mental health symptom used in a diagnosis is patient-reported. Until now, no objective biomarkers (a physical, measurable indicator of presence) existed for depression, anxiety, or stress. Medibio pioneered and proved the first method to objectively measure depression, anxiety, and stress using circadian heart rate data.

Not alone

Medibio technology takes aim at reducing incredibly prevalent mental health issues:

  • Depression: In 2017, an estimated 11 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment.
  • Anxiety: An estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year.
  • Stress: Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.

Now, couple that prevalence with this astonishing fact about diagnosis: the average gap between onset and treatment is 6–10 years, depending on the study.

Medibio Mental Health

Expand reach, expand relief

Given its huge potential, Medibio intended to implement their founding insight in a scalable way that combined multiple digital technologies:

  • Screening questionnaire data captured by local, web, or mobile applications.
  • Circadian heart rate data acquired from medical equipment and wearables.
  • Algorithmic evaluation done at the backend as a service.
  • Results returned in multiple formats through multiple APIs.

With a good plan, Medibio set off.

Encounter complexity

Complexity is often necessary in digital, but unchecked complexity increases potential for scope creep. After months of heroic work, Medibio’s technical results just weren’t proportionate to the effort invested. Then, an abrupt executive departure brought progress to a depressing, anxiety-inducing, stressful halt.

Medibio needed a reboot. It’s happened to all of us who’ve done digital. Given what they had and where they were, how could they move forward?

“You've clearly defined all the challenges. There's a lot, but now we know what we have to do.”

Dave Kaysen CEO of Medibio

Next Mile: mapping the road to recovery

Assessment and transition management

Medibio’s executive leadership needed to know the raw truth about their technology, roadmap, and team to manage an effective transition. To start, Next Mile assessed Medibio's technology portfolio against its business goals, evaluating their:

  • Product roadmap
  • System architecture
  • Device and data capture
  • Code
  • Capabilities
  • Customer sentiment
  • Assets and IP plan

We delivered our audit results fearlessly and thoroughly, making critical observations, analyses, and recommendations. To move forward from here, we emphasized five concrete, high-priority next actions that would focus attention and build positive momentum:

  1. Choose opportunity to focus on (details classified)
  2. Align claims, regulatory activity, and features to target
  3. Kickstart IP data generation (details classified)
  4. Implement disciplined product and delivery management
  5. Complete customer insight to help target development

We delivered our audit results fearlessly and thoroughly, making critical observations, analyses, and recommendations. To move forward from here, we emphasized five concrete, high-priority next actions that would focus attention and build positive momentum:

IP planning focuses delivery

Intellectual property would prove crucial to Medibio’s success and deserved a deliberate and intentional strategy. Medibio leadership drove IP, ensuring that choices met critical value criteria and became difficult for competitors to buy their way into. Next Mile turned chosen IP objectives into explicit technical targets, aligning the execution effort and making real traction attainable.

Re-energizing the team

In digital, feeling off-track hurts, and correcting for it isn’t easy. The executive departure provided time to reflect on fundamental strategic alignment. Every patient, clinical, and business stakeholder Next Mile interviewed wanted Medibio’s promise to be true—powerfully so. Medibio’s opportunity is important, unique, timely, and broadly applicable. Reconnecting with the core mission energized everybody.

Making delivery habitual

Reestablishing progress meant that immediate next steps would set an important precedent: the pace. Regular, cadenced deliveries build trust, and trust tempers technology crises. Next Mile product management put delivery on a rhythm, reducing manic urgency while keeping true importance and priority in sight.

Next Mile focused the development of Medibio’s products and features toward Medibio’s strategic imperatives. Initially, we owned the day-to-day:

  • Feature definition
  • Feature alignment against business (revenue/IP/regulatory), customer, and user needs
  • Identification of build vs. buy/integrate
  • Technical option selection and evaluation
  • Roadmap and prioritization

Our regular effort nailed down achievable, aligned releases, creating a habitual workflow and practice Medibio could (and did) adopt and own. Over time, we transitioned each duty to Medibio staff and coached them to self-sufficiency.

Service specifics: Transition, Deliver

Outcome: empowering others

Meaningful action

Next Mile helped Medibio act with clear purpose once again. Strategically, Medibio aligned around technology, data science, and clinical treatment. Digitally, Medibio pivoted toward a flexible service and data acquisition model. Then, Medibio organized around the highest-impact area for mental health management: the workplace.

Tools for health

Medibio ilumen measures mental health outside the doctor’s office, where it really exists. Partnering with businesses enables much earlier screening, reducing the enormous lag between onset and diagnosis.

  • Patients get early detection, tools to mitigate, and access to information and help.
  • Doctors get objective, clinically-actionable data that aids in next steps.
  • Workplaces and care systems save on healthcare costs.

Fundamentally, ilumen empowers everyone in the mental health care value chain.

Today: promoting digital well-being

Science, not stigma

Medibio technology is strengthening mental health support in workplaces already. ilumen provides data-driven feedback to help employees take an active role in their mental well-being. It equips workers and organizations with the tools to understand the difference between bad moods and potentially serious health threats.

What’s next for Medibio?

Today, Medibio’s technical and research teams are refining and expanding their algorithm toolset and digital offering. Medibio has the digital processes in place to forge their own path.

Digital is typically business-critical, not patient-critical. It’s no exaggeration to say that Medibio digital health technology can improve the well-being of the entire world.

Next Mile helped, but this is Medibio's success.

Reach out to see how Next Mile can enable your digital sustainability.

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