The Crisis of Serious Mental Illness
Serious mental illness – including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and treatment resistant depression – are devastating conditions that affect over 60 million people worldwide. Many of these people have substance use disorders and other medical conditions exacerbated by the underlying psychiatric conditions. In the United States alone, the cost of treating these conditions is over US$350B, with less than 30,000 practicing psychiatrists for over ten million people who need expert psychiatric care.
The “digital health” revolution has largely bypassed serious mental illness. Digital apps, telehealth, and care coordination all have a role to play in treating mental health conditions, but these products don’t meet the unique needs of people suffering serious mental illness, or the physicians, family members, and other providers that care for them.
Digitally Enabled Specialty Healthcare for Serious Mental Illness
Altimate Healthcare was founded by a team of experienced healthcare executives who realized that the methods of artificial intelligence and precision medicine that were transforming other areas of medicine could also transform the treatment of conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Working with collaborators at Massachusetts General Hospital, we envision a future where all patients with these conditions have access to the best available care.
Precision Medicine + Access to Care
We believe that data-driven methods in psychiatry will not only improve outcomes (and reduce needless, avoidable healthcare spending) but also increase access to psychiatric care, especially among the most vulnerable populations. We are working on solutions to the three largest drivers of poor health and excess costs in patients with serious mental illness:
• Medication selection and polypharmacy management is still largely trial-and-error, compounded by the need to address other co-morbid mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
• Rate of medication non-adherence are estimated at up to 70%, which makes it even more difficult for patients to manage their overall health and leads to emergency room visits and psychiatric hospitalizations.
• Cardiac and pulmonary conditions requiring hospitalization are exceptionally high due to the high rate of tobacco smoking. Up to 70% of patients with bipolar disorder and 90% of patients with schizophrenia are chronic cigarette smokers.