UPMC Partners with Mental Health Startup; Leads $17M Funding Round | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

UPMC Partners with Mental Health Startup; Leads $17M Funding Round

February 15, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

UPMC Enterprises, the commercialization arm of Pittsburgh-based integrated health system UPMC, is partnering with mental health startup Lantern and last week led a $17 million funding round in support of the company's mental health app platform.

The San Francisco-based startup provides online mental health wellness services and UPMC’s investment was joined by previous Lantern investors, including Mayfield Fund, SoftTech Venture Capital and Stanford University.

UPMC will partner with Lantern to leverage its platform within a variety of clinical settings and conditions, according to a joint press release.

“We are excited about reaching more people with behavioral health issues through this readily accessible, scalable, and cost-effective platform,” Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises, said in a statement. “This partnership is an excellent example of our mission at UPMC Enterprises: finding creative solutions and technologies to solve some of the most challenging problems in healthcare.”

Behavioral health problems are pressing health issues facing the country, affecting more than 18 percent of adults. Depression and anxiety disorders are among the top five drivers of medical costs in primary care settings—and are even more common and costly among those with chronic medical conditions. Given the shortage of mental health workers, two-thirds of primary care physicians report difficulty referring patients to behavioral health services, according to Lantern.

UPMC clinicians will work with Lantern on pilots aimed at expanding its programs to additional behavioral health issues and potentially to populations of patients with more complex conditions.

“Integrating behavioral health into broader medical care and focusing on prevention for large groups of patients is the only way that we can deliver high-quality, cost-effective mental healthcare,” Eva Szigethy, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and medicine at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said.

Alejandro Foung, Lantern co-founder and CEO, said UPMC represents the “ideal partner.” “UPMC has a unique view into the continuum of care, from insuring more than 2.8 million individuals, to administering care preventatively and when patients need it most through its more than 20 hospitals and 3,500 employed physicians,” Foung said. “A large part of UPMC’s appeal to Lantern is its focus on disease prevention, a sharp contrast to the fee-for-service model that currently dominates the behavioral health landscape. Because of our shared focus on prevention to solve health challenges before they even arise or manifest, Lantern and UPMC are the perfect match.”

Topics

News

Community Data Sharing: Eight Recommendations From San Diego

A learning guide focuses on San Diego’s experience in building a community health information exchange and the realities of embarking on a broad community collaboration to achieve better data sharing.

HealthlinkNY’s Galanis to Step Down as CEO

Christina Galanis, who has served as president and CEO of HealthlinkNY for the past 13 years, will leave her position at the end of the year.

Email-Related Cyber Attacks a Top Concern for Providers

U.S. healthcare providers overwhelmingly rank email as the top source of a potential data breach, according to new research from email and data security company Mimecast and conducted by HIMSS Analytics.

Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.