As part of its broader research into life sciences, Verily is tackling mental health by using technology to allow for earlier diagnosis and intervention. However, the Alphabet division has lost a major hire, with Dr. Thomas Insel departing.
First reported by CNBC yesterday evening and since confirmed in a blog post, Insel left Verily several weeks ago. Hired in late 2015, he was previously the director of the National Institute of Mental Health and recruited other top experts in the field.
Verily is still focusing on mental health, but notes that the “multidisciplinary team of mental health clinical researchers, data scientists, product designers, and software engineers” is “evolving.” A spokesperson told CNBC that it’s too soon to say whether Insel’s role will be replaced.
However, Verily did share some more insight on its approach to mental health. The Alphabet company sees the “lack of an objective, precise and comprehensive measurement system” as a primary challenge.
Using digital measurements, such as “deep datasets” on chronic conditions, they intend to build a “next generation measurement-based care platform that will empower a holistic and personalized approach to treatment.” So far, Verily has conducted “in-depth user studies.”
The current focus is on using that feedback and data to provide a “solution set” for those diagnosed with depression.