According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Beyond the suffering that depression causes to individuals, this illness results significant lost work productivity and huge hospitalization costs. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry states that the economic burden of depression is estimated at $210.5 billion per year. Approximately half of these costs are attributed to the workplace, including absenteeism and reduced productivity, and half are due to direct medical costs, such as outpatient services, hospitalization and medication.
Today, VoiceSense – www.voicesense.com – an Israel-based provider of predictive analytics solutions, now offers speech- based technology for improving the monitoring of depression and other mental health issues.
The company highlights that its predictive speech analytics’ provides remote monitoring, which tracks the voice patterns of mental health patients in real-time, while giving mental healthcare providers an automatic, digital health biomarker for depression and other mental health illnesses.
According to VoiceSense, mental healthcare providers get early alerts to any changes in mental state of a patient in order to provider early intervention to help the patient and have more efficient follow-up visits.
VoiceSense offering for the mental healthcare sector
VoiceSense’s solution for the mental healthcare sector is comprised of a proprietary, AI-based technology that leverages prosodic speech patterns to objectively analyze pattern variations over time. Prosodic speech patterns are the non-content speech patterns, such as intonation, pace and emphasis.
The technology work independent of language and culture, which offers a generic scale for objective measurement and can be used in regions with fewer medical resources.
VoiceSense provides a downloadable app, which automatically tracks patterns over time and detects variations in speech patterns. Caregivers can receive automatic alerts whenever the technology senses changes in a patient’s mental state.
According to VoiceSense, mental health care professionals can leverage its solution for monitoring major depression disorders, bipolar disorders, post-partum depression, PTSD substance abuse and overall mental wellbeing.
VoiceSense applications for mental healthcare
Improving existing practices
VoiceSense claims one of the main benefits of its technology for mental health care is that it provides an automatic, continuous and remote tracking system. The company points out that most existing practices and tools are manual, such as screening patients with questionnaires, and follow up is done only every two months.
For patients taking medications, VoiceSense’s continuous monitoring helps psychiatrists monitor drug effectiveness and adjust dosages.
VoiceSense’s results are used with decision support systems, reinforcing various diagnoses for other mental health illnesses and general wellbeing states.
Benefits to mental healthcare patients
VoiceSense sees that it provides three main benefits to mental healthcare patients.
First, by providing early intervention, the potential for hospitalization is greatly reduced.
Second, with ongoing and remote tracking from the VoiceSence technology mental health professionals can provide more efficient care and follow up according to a patient’s specific and updated needs.
Third, patients can be aware of their current mental state and overall mental state trends over time, which this awareness and involvement can be a strong contributor to recovery.
Next step: PoC trials
VoiceSense is currently offering proof-of-concept (PoC) trials of its technology to mental health centers, ambulatory clinics and hospitals.