Verily's Onduo expands virtual clinic again, this time with moves into mental and behavioral health

After expanding the reach of its virtual clinic earlier this year into multiple chronic conditions, Onduo is now launching digital services geared toward mental and behavioral health. 

First born as a diabetes-focused joint venture between the since-divorced Verily and Sanofi, Onduo's latest evolution brings it a step closer to its goals of delivering whole-person care through a single telehealth app.

Onduo bills this as a natural progression, estimating that up to a third of people living with conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure also experience depression. At the same time, while access to mental healthcare services was limited before COVID-19, the U.S. is currently facing a compounded shortage of trained providers, either digitally or in person.

“Access to behavioral health services is often a challenge and has become an even greater need during the pandemic,” Onduo CEO Vindell Washington said in a statement

“We also know that individuals often do not recognize symptoms of depression or seek help,” Washington added. “This solution is an important extension of the Onduo services for our customers’ members and employees so that we get them matched to the right mental health care support.”

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Through its platform, Onduo aims to both assess and address a person’s mental healthcare needs with virtual coaches and automated digital activities—as well as through direct care, with psychiatrists and therapists—after using Verily’s digital analytics frameworks to match users up with the correct pathway.

Onduo also plans to evaluate patients’ care over time, stepping up or stepping down resources as needed.

“By providing digital tools, evidence-based interventions, resources, and reflection exercises, we help members understand the impact of depression symptoms on their daily living, recognize patterns, and develop the skills to address their needs so that they can experience improved quality of life,” said Alanna Robinson, Onduo’s mental health coach leader. 

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Verily took a deep dive into mental health and addiction care with a Dayton, Ohio-based venture dubbed OneFifteen, in collaboration with local health systems. First announced in early 2019, the project looked to establish a high-tech rehab campus that would examine different approaches to managing the opioid crisis. Now, OneFifteen’s team of clinicians and engineers will look to deliver individualized virtual care through Onduo.

The latest expansions into chronic conditions, as well as Spanish language support, have been fueled by a massive $700 million funding round secured by Verily last December, to rapidly scale up the commercial efforts of Google’s life science-focused sibling. Those proceeds will also power its Project Baseline clinical testing initiatives, plus research programs in digital surgery, pathology and immunology.