Big Health CEO and Co-Founder Peter Hames on VatorNews podcast

Kristin Karaoglu · March 3, 2021 · Short URL:

Sleepio and Daylight are designed to teach skills to beat insomnia and anxiety

Bambi Francisco Roizen interviews Peter Hames, co-founder, and CEO of Big Health.

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(On May 19 we will be hosting the Future of Mental and Behavioral Health 2021 virtual event. We'll have top-level VCs and C-level executives from the leading mental and behavioral companies, such as Teladoc's BetterHelp, Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Kaiser Permanente, Bessemer Ventures and more)

Highlights from the interview:

  • Big Health is a digital therapeutics focused on sleep and mental health, using evidence-based, non-drug therapies, such as CBT. There are no coaches or therapists. The treatment is pure software. It is substituting molecules with algorithms.

  • Peter started Big Health after his PCP gave him Ambien for his insomnia. He studied CBT from a self-help book and then partnered with the author to create non-drug interventions. 

  • The pandemic uncovered a mental health problem that was already there but is now hard to ignore, paving the way for a greater acceptance of behavioral interventions, and moving CBT from a soft science to a hard science.

  • Big Health made a lightweight version of its product for free in March 2020, and extended its reach to 6.5 million people in 12 weeks across over 200 organizations, including 1.2 million NHS England staff.

  • Core customers are big corporations, such as CVS, which offers Big Health to its employees as well as PBM members.

  • Sleepio (helps with insomnia) and Daylight (helps with anxiety) are designed to teach people skills so they become second nature when faced with insomnia and anxiety.  

  • Peter’s definition of digital therapeutic? Software-based solution where software delivers the outcomes. It’s not software helping a human clinician or enhancing a device. But the software is the solution. 

  • Evidence? A longitudinal study conducted with IBM Watson saw a $1600 on average incremental cost savings from those who used Sleepio. 500 people used Sleepio compared to 500 people (similar demographics, age and other identical factors). The control group had fewer healthcare episodes, such as falls or doctor’s visits, plus they saw a reduction in prescriptions. Turns out improved sleep improves downstream issues.  

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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Peter Hames

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Peter Hames is co-founder and CEO of Big Health, the digital medicine company behind sleep improvement program Sleepio. He is an NHS Innovation Fellow and holds a Masters in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University.