Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check In to Assess and Maintain Employees’ Good Mental Health [Interview][Transcript]

kris_knauer_medibio_mental_health_check_inGuest: Kris Knauer
Presenter: Henry Acosta
Guest Bio: Kris Knauer was appointed to the Board of Medibio on 1 July 2014 and he took on the role of CEO in September 2014. Kris has 20 years’ experience in Finance and Corporate Advisory and he is an experienced CEO of ASX-listed companies. He has had a previous role as CEO in a group owning GP Centres and Radiology practices. He also founded and grew an ASX-listed company from sub $3 million valuation to $300 million valuation prior to a $1bn takeover.
Kris has a Bachelor of Science (Honours). Mr Knauer also has over 15 years’ experience in finance and corporate advisory services.
In Medibio, Kris focuses on corporate matters such as the Board and Senior Management composition and structure, Capital structure, and the ongoing funding requirements for commercialisation of the company’s CHR technology for the diagnosis of Depression and other Mental Health conditions.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we are joined by Kris Kanuer from Medibio to talk about the customised monitoring device they have developed as part of their partnership with Australia’s Biggest Mental Health Check In. Together with HBF, they are encouraging companies to have their employees wear this at night around the chest to track their circadian heart rhythm during sleep. This would be looking at stress, depression, anxiety, sleep quality, self awareness and the results will help provide an assessment of their mental health. This partnership aims to better help employees maintain good mental health.

Transcription
Health Professional Radio – Mental Health Check In

Henry Acosta: Hi I’m Henry Acosta and today in studio we have Kris Knauer. He graduated with Honors along with getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, he’s been working in the corporate world for 20 years now and has experience in finance and corporate advisory. He has become CEO of ASX Listed Company in the past, right now he’s the executive director of Medibio. Medibio is an Australian listed company developing a digital health platform. Today we’re here to talk about Medibio and its partnership with Mental Health Check-in and how their research and application is important and is taking great steps in making sure that people get to a healthier state of mind especially those in the workplace. Hi Kris, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became CEO of Medibio?

Kris Knauer: Yes, sure. Look Medibio is an ASX Listed Company, we’re developing what would be the first sort of FDA approved diagnostics for depression and other key mental health disorders as opposed to the traditional sort of psychiatric tests where the… asks the patients questions and they answers our tests by…purely on biology. I sort of became the CEO and my background is corporate, I have been CEO in ASX Listed Companies before and originally I was just an investor in the technology and the company and basically took on the CEO role around about 18 months ago and I think it’s just became apparent that through psychiatrist running a listed company probably a recipe for disaster in terms of commercializing the technology.

H: And can you tell us a little bit more about what Medibio does and what it provides?

K: Yes, so what we provide is we currently finishing our research with Johns Hopkins University in the US and also… University. What we can do is taking your overnight heart rate data, we’ve got a series of diagnostic algorithms and from that heart rate data overnight we can tell whether you’ve got depression, you’ve got anxiety disorder, you’ve got schizophrenia or you’re normal. Effectively what we’re doing is we’re using the overnight heart rate data when there’s no external influences to take a snapshot of the autonomic nervous system and pick up disruptions in the autonomic nervous system.

H: And can you tell us a little bit about www.mentalhealthcheckin.com and what it’s about?

K: Yeah, love to. So mentalhealthcheckin.com is an initiative put together by Vital Conversations who are the dealing mental wellness group in Western Australia and us and also HBF Insurance who’ve come onboard as exclusive health partner. What mentalhealthcheckin.com lets you do is if you to log on to that website, www.mentalhealthcheckin.com you can register and you’ll be sent basically a… test which is sort of traditional pen and paper stress test and also a test to determine your resilience and sleep and also Medibio’s new stress test which is an objective test based again on your overnight heartrate data. And then about 3 weeks after taking these tests you’ll get a diagnostic report produced which will basically tell you your sort of mental state and any key risks based on both traditional psychiatric reports and also our new objective test based on your sort of overnight heartrate architecture. And it’s a good opportunity for people just to see how they’re travelling mentally, your stressors probably the largest precursor to the development of mental health disorder, Harvard have done some work showing that…60 – 80% of all GP visits are direct results of stress and stress leads to a number of other disorders as well as mental health as well so if you take check-in you can just say how you’re thriving in coping with stress.

H: And I see here that you guys have been researching and have been trying to develop this for over 15 years. Can you tell us how far you guys have gone with the research?

K: Yeah, look I mean we’re right at the point and now we’ve put our first batch of clinical data where the results are great so better than 80% diagnosing depression from non-depressed which is certainly it’s better than the current gold standard so we’re sort of getting to the point now where we hope to have FDA approval within 12 months and really we’ve been going at it sort of full steam ahead for about the last 18 months from when the listed company got involved in the technology really the sort of first 15 years research which just collecting the data you need to get these machine learning algorithms to able to differentiate between the different mental states.

H: And can you give us an assurance that the data that will be given to you guys, it will interpret the data accurately to what your mental or how your mental health is?

K: Yeah, look I mean I suppose first thing is the current gold standard out there is not great around about a 70% accordance between 2 psychiatrists and at the sort of stress level and the self-report level it’s not as good generally sort of the accepted accuracy rate is about 60%, you look at our accuracy level we’re getting sort of better than 80% which is again a studied…University and then internal validation studies…we’ve done our stress tests, we’re getting…more accuracy levels…unfortunately this will never be a hundred percent test, the same way that the current psychiatric test is not a hundred percent test but certainly we’re better than what’s available out there and the beauty of the Check-In is that it combines both sort of traditional psychiatric measures with our objective measures and so you effectively get 2 different data points and often where you learn something is where these 2 differ as well.

H: And can you tell us a little bit more about how important mental health is right now and the current state of our world?

K: Look, I mean mental health the World Health Organization has basically come out about 18 months ago and described depression and mental health is the number one health factor in the world. You have to look at the statistics that WHR report, the economic impact of mental health is around about 2.5 trillion dollars annually and they forecasted that to grow to about 6 trillion dollars annually in I think it’s around about 2020. I mean another way sort of understand the impact is it the direct medical cost for cancer in the US are around about 80 billion dollars annually and the direct medical costs are related to depression same direct medical cost are about 94 billion dollars annually in the US so depression is basically a bigger problem than cancer.

H: And with regards to Medibio and Mental Health Check-in, you guys have an app and a device for it right?

K: Yes, so what we do is if you register at www.mentalhealthcheckin.com you’ll receive your little pack in the mail. That pack will be a heartrate monitor that you can keep, a little bit like the Polar heart monitor or a lower ECG quality monitor and also instructions to go on and download our app from either the iTunes store or Google Play and it’s pretty self-explanatory the guys or our technical teams are to describe me as the lowest common denominators of things technical in the company and so if I make it work very simply than I think the average person certainly won’t have an trouble, it’s self-explanatory. It runs you through exactly how to do so yeah, you’ll receive the pack in the mail within a couple of weeks after registering.

H: And to anyone interested in knowing more about mental health and Medibio and mentalhealthcheckin.com how they can get in contact with you or how can they support the cause?

K: Look if they want to support the cause again just register at mentalhealthcheckin.com, if they’re interested in more information on Medibio all they want to contact the company the easiest way is to go to our website which is www.medibio.com.au and there’s a Contact Us there so certainly happy for people to contact us as well and look if they want to find out more about mental health probably the best place to start a website is like the Beyond Blue website or the Black Door website. They’ll provide a raft of data on mental health and the importance of it.

H: Again that was Kris Knauer, he is the executive director of Medibio. Medibio is an ASX Listed Company, their aim is to make sure that people are in good mental health especially those in the workforce. They’ve been doing research in the past 15 years and could have the very first FDA approved diagnostic test for mental illness for depression. You can find them on www.medibio.com.au and at www.mentalhealthcheckin.com. Thank you for listening to us, if you want to listen to it again or if you’ve missed this interview you can visit us on www.hpr.fm or on www.healthprofessionalradio.com.au, you can also find our podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud.