HLTH22: SonderMind picks up neuroscience company Total Brain to build out data-driven mental healthcare

Mental health provider SonderMind acquired neuroscience company Total Brain with the goal of revolutionizing personalized therapeutic care and providing individual insights into mental wellbeing.

Total Brain’s mental health monitoring and support platform will be integrated into SonderMind’s therapeutic platform so therapists and patients can better understand thought patterns, triggers and the efficacy of treatment plans. Users can use the application outside of therapy in order to scientifically measure and optimize brain capacities while managing common mental conditions, according to the companies.

“What is most exciting is the opportunity to deliver a comprehensive offering that allows us to address the needs from a mental health standpoint at both the population health level as well as down to the individual user level and really meet people where they are with a highly personalized care journey,” SonderMind's co-founder and CEO Mark Frank told Fierce Healthcare. “You can work with us from a digital intervention standpoint, you can work with our therapists or with a psychiatrist. You can couple that together to make it kind of a one-stop-shop.”

The acquisition was announced publicly Tuesday at the HLTH 2022 conference in Las Vegas. Financial specifics were not disclosed.

“Combining our decades of research and platform at Total Brain with the high-quality therapy at SonderMind will be a major step forward in our shared vision of a healthier world through improved mental wellness,” Dr. Evian Gordon, M.D., founder of Total Brain said in a statement. “I’m excited to see how we can advance the behavioral and mental health field by joining SonderMind.”

Denver-based SonderMind developed a therapist matchmaking platform. The company's clinicians currently treat patients in 15 states and Washington, D.C. via virtual and in-person modalities. The mental health company starts users off with a questionnaire regarding their insurance, payment information, relevant health history and behavioral health related questions in order to best match them with a provider.

SonderMind, created in 2017, soared to unicorn status with a valuation “well north” of $1 billion in July 2021 after raising $150 million in its March 2021 series C funding round.

Frank sees this spirit of data-informed care continued with the acquisition of Total Brain. The neuroscience company holds the world’s largest standardized brain database and boasts one million registered users. Neuroscientist Gordon has spent over 40 years investing in research through Total Brain in order to develop measurement of the 12 brain capacities that define mental health, according to the companies.

“This is absolutely going to enable us to build more objectivity into how we both assess and diagnose, as well as treat and deliver outcomes,” Frank said. “Providers can say, you're improving along this axis, so let's keep doing this thing, or you're not, so let's shift our treatment plan to make sure that you're getting to a higher level of mental wellbeing.”

SonderMind lists benefits of their method of care to include improved patient outcomes and tracking of objectively-measured outcomes. For payers and patient populations, mental health access and efficacy is increased while cost is decreased, according to the company.

The company also decreases barriers for vetted therapists and other psychiatric providers to determine the types of patients they would like to treat while offering tools needed to conduct telehealth visits and handling billing and payer interactions.

The data collected through Total Brain will better inform matches between patients and providers, but Frank sees a major opportunity to improve care.

"When you go to your doctor, they have a lot of information about you: height and weight, labs to check your cholesterol and take your blood pressure and your oxygen levels– your objective data points,” Frank said. “They collect that over a period of time to know how you're trending. In mental health, there's a real lack of that. What Total Brain allows us to do is collect that information and use it in a way that's beneficial to the provider, to the therapist, but also to the individual patient or consumer themselves.”

For individuals outside a point of care, Total Brain offers mental health management neuroscience tools to support self-care. Users can self-monitor brain capacity and stress levels, take screening tests for common mental health conditions, get personalized self-care exercises and access in-the-moment stress relief.

Through the screening tool, users can learn about common mental health conditions. With teens turning to TikTok in search of mental health diagnosis, platforms like SonderMind infused with Total Brain’s insights and educational tools can provide much-needed context for conditions in the nation’s ongoing mental health crisis, executives said.

SonderMind acquired machine learning company Qntfy last October to further bolster it’s data-driven approach to mental health treatment by utilizing the machine learning company’s predictive analytics. Qntfy collects and analyzes mental health and biometric data from patients through wearables and mobile apps to identify treatment options.

“Qntfy has built all of these machine learning models with an immense amount of social data and other things that are all user opt-in to help predict user behavior,” Frank said. “The reason social media companies have been successful is because they collect millions of data points. We've now built tools that can use technology and algorithms with all the data we're collecting to really build better predictive understanding of how we might react. With that predictive understanding, we can start to inform and break some of these cognitive biases.”

Both SonderMind and Total Brain have robust research arms to prove efficacy of outcomes while bringing new data back into the platform and its predictive models.

SonderMind partnered with the University of Denver to research the efficacy of measurement-based care. By partnering with Total Brain, SonderMind can now look both up and downstream to create more longitudinal, robust models for predicting behavior, executives said.

“Use virtual or in-person therapy, as well as medication management, you couple those things together and you're able to build a really powerful picture from a research standpoint to show what actually works when we're talking about use cases in the thousands or tens of thousands,” Frank said.