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50 Innovative Companies to Watch 2021

Big Health – Providing Safe and Effective Non-Drug Alternatives for the Most Common Mental Health Conditions


More than half of the populations of middle- and high-income countries are likely to suffer from at least one mental condition during their lifetime. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some 42 percent of employees globally have reported a decline in mental health. Symptoms of burnout are increasing among employees and leaders alike, according to press reports. The World Health Organization estimates that insomnia, depression, anxiety disorders, and other conditions cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

The good news is that addressing mental health and well-being through digital medicine and therapeutics make a difference. Digital therapeutics (DTx) are evidenced-based behavioral treatments that have demonstrated their ability to prevent or manage a disease or disorder. While their rapid evolution and often confounds efforts to precisely define the role of DTx in healthcare, they are generally used to perform or enhance several key functions. These include delivering health information, providing cognitive or motivational support, supplementing and enhancing treatment with drugs or other medical technologies, and data capture. In just the past decade, DTx products have demonstrated significant benefits in the management of patients with many complex and challenging diseases, especially in the area of mental health.

“We combine leading clinical insight with the best in design and technology to provide a scalable approach that’s accessible to all — including communities traditionally underserved by mental health care.”

Big Health is one such digital therapeutics company on a mission to help millions back to good mental health by providing effective non-drug alternatives for the most common mental health conditions including insomnia and anxiety. Designed by leading clinical experts, Big Health’s digital therapeutics expands access to gold standard care, including behavioral medicine, and is backed by industry-leading research and randomized controlled trials. By seamlessly integrating across the care pathway, from member engagement to billing via pharmacy benefit managers, the company simplifies adoption for both payers and patients, providing an inclusive, scalable, and affordable approach without serious side effects. Big Health has been helping large organizations tackle mental health stigma and access barriers with custom-built engagement strategies. From nurses to truck drivers to members working from home or abroad, they have got you covered.

Leveraging Most Potent Therapeutics for Mental Health Conditions

Sleepio: It addresses unique needs with a personalized program, featuring sessions with step-by-step guidance through evidence-based techniques. In about 20 minutes per week, individuals can quiet their racing minds, reshape behaviors, and get better sleep. Its use was shown to lower health care costs by $1,677 per employee. A health economic evaluation with IBM Watson Health and a Fortune 500 employer demonstrated that Sleepio generated a significant per-employee health care cost reduction. It adjusts therapeutic content to each individual’s needs and offers additional tools and insights when needed. When it’s needed the most, Sleepio is instantly accessible and ready to check in, practice, or try a new technique. It provides personalized goal setting, a detailed sleep diary, and helps track progress over time.

Daylight: It is a life-changing digital therapeutic for anxiety. It is continually and rigorously studied for effectiveness in gold-standard clinical trials. It is an effective digital therapeutic that helps people gain control over their anxiety. After a two-minute quiz to discover their Anxiety Type, individuals receive personalized techniques to help manage it. In accordance with FDA’s Current Enforcement Discretion Policy for Digital Health Devices for Psychiatric Disorders, for patients aged 18 years and older, who are followed by and diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) by a medical provider, Daylight is available as an adjunct to their usual medical care for GAD.

The Visionary Leader Upfront

Peter Hames is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Big Health. He is an NHS Innovation Fellow, and holds a Masters in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University. It was his own experience of insomnia, and how he overcame it that inspired him to found Big Health and create Sleepio, a digital sleep improvement program that is currently available to over 12 million people through partnerships with US employers and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

“With our digital therapeutics, employers and health plans can lower health care costs, deliver meaningful clinical outcomes, and improve lives.”