Andromeda Entertainment: Can Digital Therapeutics Save the World?August 25, 2021 2021-09-07 16:29
Andromeda Entertainment: Can Digital Therapeutics Save the World?
Andromeda Entertainment: Can Digital Therapeutics Save the World?
I have just returned from a full operating system reboot of heart and mind. My travels took me through national parks, sacred sites, and underground alchemy labs in the Czech Republic and Croatia.
I gave myself a gift most of us take for granted – space. Space to reflect on my mission, space to simplify my goals, space to truly give myself a mental fast. We detox the body, we fast for longevity, so why not turn those practices inwards? Not through the general upkeep of a 15 minute meditation, but a full 15 day adventure, without business books or podcasts to keep the “productivity” wheels turning, just your own mindful presence and a small journal to record your insights.
I had the space to consider a profound element of my mission. In 2015, the United Nations created a list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The theory being, in order to start turning the Titanic of our Earth ship away from the iceberg of destruction, we must hit these goals by 2030. We are now six years past the declaration, and I can’t help but ask, what progress have we made thus far and why haven’t we been galvanized to support these changes at scale?
Where I feel that I play the biggest part, my global mission, is directly aligned with the the SDG of Mental Health. I see it as one of the most, if not the most, critically important global issues. It is the foundational layer of humanities impulses, decision making, social lives, and overall happiness. A root cause for the misguidance and destruction in the overwhelming variety of humanity’s wrong doings. If mental health was solved tomorrow, how fast would the rest of the SDG’s course correct?
In comes digital therapeutics and transformative entertainment in the realms of VR and gaming. Why? Because Yoga, meditation, talk therapy, eating healthy and biohacking are usually not entertaining, or easy. Of course, all these modalities feel good when you’re done, but the process itself can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for beginners, and requires a great deal of discipline. Why are fast food, reality television and pharmaceuticals the baseline for western society? Because most people prioritize the expense of their time via one, if not both, of these categories: entertainment and ease of use.
So I want to share with you my exploration of the rise of digital therapeutics. As you all know by now, my company Andromeda Entertainment, has created a spin-off venture. Entheo Digital is focused on creating entertaining experiences that improve your mental health as you go. Our mission is to impact the planet through accessibility and joy, at scale. Taking users from passive observer to active participant in the hero’s journey of their lives.
Welcome to the Benevolent Future.
Question I have been Pondering
How will Digital Therapeutics optimize healthcare?
There is a fascinating development happening in the Mental Health industry. Finally, a much needed shift in perspective has been occurring.
Imagine a doctor’s office in 1921, a patient walks in loudly complaining about the severe chest pains they are experiencing. The doctor would simply ask some questions, listen to their heartbeat, prescribe the same rudimentary medicine they’d give to anyone with the same symptoms, and send them on their way.
Today, someone visits a doctors office, they get referred to a specialist, wait for lab reports, and undergo diagnostic testing to narrow down the multitude of possible causes for the distress.
What many do not know, is that the psychiatric industry has not changed much in the last 100 years. If you were to walk into a doctors office today complaining about depression, anxiety, mood swings, etc, they would enlist 20 minute assessment questionnaire that was used a century ago. Almost exactly the same process, down to the language doctors use on the questionnaire.
They would likely then prescribe a band-aid type drug treatment, and perhaps referring the patient to a therapist. This therapist will have very little to work off of, including no biometric data or measurable behavioral reports outside what the patient conveys as truth. Which increases the likelihood that they utilize an inappropriate method for the patient’s needs, run around searching for the right method, suggest pharmaceuticals with a plethora of side effects, and perhaps throw in some talk therapy that could take years to be successful, if it is at all.
Clearly this inadequacy is reflected in the rise of opioid addiction, sleeping pills, and the mounting generations of familial cycles of depression and anxiety. Story after story, shocking statistic after shocking statistic. Why has this not been corrected?
Today, we are at a tipping point for wellness technology in the healthcare space. Adoption of frameworks to validate, distribute, and integrate into the existing healthcare system are well underway.
The global pressure is massive, both practitioners and patients are seeking solutions for more reliable treatments in mental health care. Tools are now being developed within emerging industries. Psychedelic therapy, digital therapeutics, and precision psychiatry (making treatments more individualized based on lifestyle, genetics, and analytics by artificial intelligence) are all happening simultaneously. I believe this can save the world.
Digital Therapeutics (Dtx)- Scientifically validated digital health technologies
In the US and Europe, there has been growing interest in new models of healthcare such as integrated care and value-based healthcare. Many of the challenges of our current healthcare system stem from a lack of interoperability. “Silos” of providers don’t share information, preventing a comprehensive, patient-centered and holistic approach to healthcare. A siloed healthcare system results in greatly inflated costs, delays in critical care interventions, poorly coordinated delivery, and a lack of preventative care.
There is hope! Digital health technology could turn the long-awaited dream of integrated care and value-based healthcare into a reality. Digital therapeutics will play a role in integrated care: capturing patient data, anticipating patient needs, and shared decision-making. Technology, such as deep machine learning, promises to provide population-level analytics supporting value-based healthcare, while VR enables “smart care” and patient-specific interventions.
Let’s look at a common mental health challenge as an example. Postpartum Depression (PPD) affects 1 in 5 new mothers. Like most mental health challenges, it also has significant racial-ethnic disparities. Currently there is no adequate treatment. One pharmaceutical drug, Zulresso, has mild and serious potential side effects, and costs $34,000 without insurance. If not this expensive drug, then talk therapy, which is also expensive and inaccessible to most people. Enter digital therapeutics. This year, digital therapy company WoeBot Health, received breakthrough designation from the FDA to study their AI-enabled mobile app for PPD. The hope is that after discharge from the hospital, new mothers can access critical aftercare for PPD using cognitive-behavioral tools delivered by AI, on-demand and from the comfort of their home.
WoeBot is an example of smart care in psychotherapy, where a digital therapeutic delivers patient-specific interventions at a scale unimaginable through face-to-face therapy. Wellness plays such a huge role in preventing disease, so technologies like VR present totally new ways of modifying our perceptions, habits, and lifestyle choices. There truly is hope that experiential therapies delivered by smart phone apps and VR can empower us to improve our well-being before our dis-ease becomes chronic disease.
Projects I have my Eyes on
I have been blessed with the energy and passion to be building another VR company alongside Entheo! I am thrilled to announce, we are only a few months away from redefining online education as we know it. Our first app, Retreat, will set the standard for interactive, immersive learning. We spent a lot of time dreaming up what a virtual retreat would look like with a metaverse at our fingertips. Would we create our own Hogwarts castle, or the X-Men school for the gifted?
The answer: a participatory open world VR app that combines the best of Masterclass and Alt Space in a Hero’s journey style learning quest.
As the VR world shifted to online events and concerts during COVID, we shifted to online education. We believe online schooling is being overlooked and technology finally has the ability to transform the digital landscape in a effective, and more importantly, an enjoyable way. The science is out learners in VR are 275% more confident, 4X more focused, 4X faster to train, and 3.75X more emotionally connected!
Our closed Beta is set to launch mid October for our first educators and their students. Feel free to sign up for more information on how you can participate here.
If you or anyone you know is an online educator and is ready to take the leap from a 2D screen to an immersive education feel free to share my email with them directly. We have another few spots open for our starting coaches and are considering a variety of applicants from business, personal growth, spirituality, health optimization and more!
I love tracking companies like Osso, as they show the wonderful applications of VR in the medical space. The once typical, boring training tools used by companies like Walmart to show employees how to correctly lift a box, will be obsolete. We now have excellent virtual education even for surgeons to improve their skills. Osso VR’s surgical training tech provides on-demand, experiences to surgeons with a focus on acquainting them with emerging techniques and technologies. With medical errors the third leading cause of death in the US, this technology is more important than ever.
VR cinema is gathering mainstream adoption within film festivals (La Biennalle, Sundance and Cannes) and the non-gamer market. It is amazing to see actors at the caliber of Edward Norton stepping up to create incredible experiences, bringing Pixar style animations to immersive theater. Most virtual cinema available on the Quest store are either cheap or free! My favorites include Wolves in the Walls, Baba Yaga, and Notes on Blindness – if you care to give this blossoming category a spin!
Updates at Andromeda and Entheo Digital
I am now writing this newsletter to cater to both companies. Andromeda focused on the publishing of transformative virtual experiences, and Entheo, focused on increasing accessibility and scaling of psychedelic therapy with digital therapeutics.
Our former CFO John McClellan has now been promoted to CEO and has truly proven his skills as the game producer for Audio Trip while it continues to pick up steam heading into full release.
We are about to begin signing a few additional titles, so we are actively seeking one or two more transformative VR experiences looking for a publisher. We take on funding, marketing, distribution, community management, etc. If you or someone you know is developing a title that focuses on mindfulness, community building, fitness, mental challenge, family friendly experience or overall improvement of humanity through XR please do not hesitate to reach out. It is important to note that we can only consider a project when there is (or is about to be) a playable demo for our team to review.
We are currently wrapping up our fundraise and have on-boarded two amazing additions to our Executive team, Sandeep Prakesh and Michael Festa.
Sandeep is in the final stages of receiving his doctorate, he is the full package of a Psychologist, psychedelic therapist, and digital therapeutics specialist
Festa is a VR veteran, in part responsible for the vast US VR arcade market. He’s helped open over 500 locations with Survious (among other epic acquisitions and distribution deals), before moving to Springboard VR and successful leading them through a acquisition going into the new year.
We are feeling beyond excited for the pieces coming together to truly make an impact in this emerging industry. We do have a few spots open for investment so please do not hesitate to reach out and I will send our company deck your way!
As always we appreciate our transformative technology community and everything you stand for in this world.
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