nOCD, a digital health startup focused on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) management, has inked a deal with Actify Neurotherapies, a service that treats depression with ketamine.
As part of the deal, nOCD will be using the home section of its app platform to present users with information and resources for ketamine treatment. Alongside this education the app will also connect people to the Actify website, which will provide users with a free 15-minute consultation.
Ketamine is a local anesthetic sometimes used for treatment-resistant mood disorders. According to nOCD CEO Stephen Smith, depression is often a comorbidity of OCD. Smith wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews that alongside larger studies for people with depression, “ketamine has now been tested in multiple studies for those with OCD” as well.
Looking forward, nOCD plans on expanding its offerings for people with OCD through many avenues including telehealth and provider partnerships.
“The nOCD team is focused on managing the OCD population using its new stepped care model: app [plus] in-app telecoach [plus] provider,” Smith wrote. “In Q1 of 2019, our members will be able to work with licensed OCD specialist tele-coaches who are specially trained to help people with OCD self-manage more effectively.”
Why it matters
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1.2 percent of US adults have lived with OCD in the past year. nOCD reports that an estimated 4 million Americans live with both OCD and major depression.
“Over the last year, many of our community members have asked us to help them find additional treatment resources for their depression, as about half of people with OCD also suffer from comorbid depression,” Smith said. “Therefore, in order to help these people more effectively, our team made it a priority to find a partner who not only provides effective care for people with comorbid depression but also offers a tremendous patient experience. Actify Neurotherapies is well known for doing both.”
While ketamine has shown to be effective in treating depression, a STAT news investigation found a number of inconsistencies in ketamine clinics, specifically pointing out dosage inconsistencies and care coordination gaps between the clinics and mental health professionals.
What's the trend
The Chicago-based startup was designed to help people living with OCD by providing cognitive behavioral therapy through the platform. The free app also connects people to support groups and others who also are living with OCD.
“The funding will allow us to make our treatment platform more robust, enhancing the treatment ecosystem for both patients and their care team,” Smith said in February.
On the record
“The challenge with the behavioral health care continuum today is that it’s broken at the very top of the funnel. For example, we don’t have an easy way to connect highly at-risk people with [OCD] and comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD), to different treatment resources in their area,” Smith wrote. “As a result, people with OCD and comorbid MDD use substances and can become suicidal. Our partnership with Actify fills this gap for those suffering with both severe OCD and comorbid major depressive disorder, as it allows our community members to learn about treatment options and find Actify centers more easily. By utilizing its community feed, NOCD is educating high-risk people with OCD and MDD living near Actify sites about Actify's services, empowering them to seamlessly find care that could change their life.”