General News — 10 February 2016

TAO Connect, short for Therapist Assisted Online treatment platform, has raised more than $1 million to expand its business serving the needs of college students who suffer from depression and anxiety beyond the university setting, according to a company statement.

The company’s approach involves a patient-facing component that uses education content to help people do things like identify and face their fears and change their lifestyle. There is also a videoconferencing piece and a patient log. A therapist-facing dashboard helps them keep track of their patients’ activities and another tool that helps them assess patient progress.

TAO Connect is based at the University of Florida Innovation Hub. It raised $1.1 million from New World Angels, Florida Angels Network and Florida Funders to support product development, marketing and expansion into non-university settings, including: veterans’ services, private practice therapists, and Medicare patients.

“We believe that expansion of therapists’ services creates benefits for the student and the community at large, as well as building a solid foundation for a thriving business,” said Founder Dr. Sherry Benton, President Emeritus of the Academy of Counseling Psychology. She has also worked as a mental health care administrator for 22 years.

College campuses are a growing area of interest for health IT companies, particularly those supporting a pathway for providers. Some health IT companies in the telehealth space have focused on or included college campuses such as CampusMD and New Directions Behavioral Health TAO’s move suggests either it’s too early a concept for most universities to embrace or the sector isn’t large enough to warrant a focus on behavioral health needs or both.

This article first appeared on ‘Med City News’ on 8 February 2016.


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