In this episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat, I sat down with Owen Muir, MD, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Brooklyn Minds, for a deep dive into the secondary effects of COVID-19 on mental health conditions and novel treatment approaches. Among many other things, we explored innovative techniques such as deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS), Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT), and telehealth for psychiatry applications.
Here is a sneak peek of our discussion:
Q: Tell me a little bit about how COVID-19 impacted your practice, and how is your practice different from other psychiatry or mental health clinics?
A: There are a couple of key moments. The first key moment was: we were seeing patients who are too complex to manage alone. We realized, very quickly, that we had to start hiring other people to come work with us because we needed a team for the kind of patients we were managing.
The second key element was transcranial magnetic stimulation becoming part of our practice. Once you have one of those machines, the economics of everything you do change. It requires interaction with systems, which private pay outpatient psychiatrists, they have no idea how insurance works, I certainly didn’t. Even at NYU, they had no idea how insurance works, they just cranked up the same bill every time, and it “sucks for you that you have to pay out of pocket for it.” We very quickly realized that this is a wildly effective treatment, that it’s way too much money out of pocket and that we’re going to have to deal with insurance, and so we started unraveling that system’s knot.
The third key moment was meeting Mike Sarmiento, who is the former “Scaler-in-Chief,” as it were, for One Medical, over brunch. His wife runs the design firm we had retained in our office. He took a look at what we’re doing, and he said, “you got to scale this.” He was right, so he went very quickly from being a consultant to being an employee. We brought on a Chief Technical Officer and we started functioning as a startup, not just a medical practice, and building out the infrastructure to scale.
When COVID-19 hit, a week before anyone else, we recognized the danger and we had the infrastructure to be able to go digital for everything that needed to, and everything that had to stay in person did.
I think the difference between Brooklyn Minds is that we have this infrastructure. We have 70 employees, and most practices are one person, maybe one person and an administrator, or maybe a small group. We have this kind of scale that takes insurance and does interventional care. For example, SPRAVATO® (esketamine), we were the first practice in New York to be able to deploy. Now, we have 30 visits a week and increasing. Psychedelics are coming online and we’re involved in that process as well, from both a drug development and training standpoint. We also offer comprehensive psychotherapy, so it’s not just the doctor and you get a prescription, then it’s done. We have group therapy, we have individual therapy, and we have ongoing supervision. All those things translated just effortlessly. Thanks to having a strong IT department, the cloud when we needed it the most, and so our patients have been cared for ever since…
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Dr. Owen Muir, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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