SBIR Phase I: An Automated Assistant for Mental Health

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lymba Corporation
901 Waterfall Way, Building 5
Richardson, TX 75080
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This SBIR Phase I project proposes to address the challenges medical professionals face since the signing of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Today's mental health therapist must prepare for an increased patient load as the pool of insured Americans grows, while simultaneously reducing the overall cost of healthcare. The healthcare delivery process must be streamlined by eliminating unnecessary tests, procedures, and repeat patient care. This project will provide therapists tools to: (1) speed up and improve patient diagnosis, (2) prepare a course of treatment that is likely to yield a fast and positive patient outcome, and (3) keep informed about scientific findings that directly impacting their daily work. Deep research issues need to be solved to parse the technical jargon of medical literature and reconcile that with the free form narrative typical in therapist session notes. The project will produce novel methods to transform patient records and medical resources like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) into a medically tuned semantic graph that is merged with a rich mental health ontology. Moreover, the project will research advanced text similarity algorithms to align patient data with DSM disorders, quality treatment plan options, and relevant research findings. Broader Impacts/ Commercial Potential: The broader/commercial impact of this project is to deliver an automated medical assistant to mental health professionals that will give them time to focus on patient interactions and make healthcare more personal. Government agencies and insurance companies will benefit as increased efficiency and quality of care from therapists will lead to lower healthcare costs, especially because mental health disorders often manifest themselves as general medical conditions. The World Health Organization reports that mental disorders account for nearly 12% of the global burden of disease, and that by 2020 these disorders will account for nearly 15% of disability-adjusted life-years lost to illness. Further because the burden of mental disorders is maximal in young adults, the most productive section of the population, improvements to mental health diagnosis and treatment will significantly impact the American society as a whole. The patient population will also benefit from lowered personal costs as well as a lessened societal burden that comes with taking care of the mentally ill.