Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

UPMC Insurance Services Division and Ultrasis Form New Company to Market Online Tool for Treating Depression

October 7, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — An online tool that has been proven to help treat depression and anxiety is now available to help patients in the United States through U(2) Interactive — a new Pittsburgh-based company formed by the UPMC Insurance Services Division and the British company Ultrasis.

U(2) Interactive (www.u2interactive.com) will market the software “Beating the BluesUS,” an American-specific version of Beating the Blues®, a computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program that is approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the U.K.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychiatry studied Beating the BluesUS to determine that it would be both an easily accessible product that could serve a diverse population with emotional and mental health difficulties and also that it can be an effective tool to treat mild and moderate depression. As a result of the partnership, Beating the BluesUS will be offered to the 1.6 million members served by all of UPMC Insurance Services Division entities.

“The UPMC Insurance Services Division has a mission to redefine health care by using innovative science, technology and medicine to invent new models of accountable, cost-efficient and patient-centered care,” said Diane P. Holder, Executive Vice President of UPMC and President of the UPMC Insurance Services Division. “We believe that Beating the BluesUS will help us achieve this goal by providing effective intervention through this new medium.”

The UPMC Insurance Services Division has invested $1 million to develop Beating the BluesUS. U(2) Interactive will begin to offer the product for sale in the fall of 2011.

“We are also pleased to be able to say that U(2) Interactive will be located in Pittsburgh and will bring new jobs to our region,” said Ms. Holder.

Beating the Blues is Ultrasis’s flagship product for anxiety and depression. Ultrasis was the first company to offer computerized products based on CBT and interactive multimedia, and is still the world leader in this field.

Beating the Blues is the only treatment program recommended by Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for the treatment of people with mild and moderate depression.

“Studies done in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychiatry and elsewhere have shown that CBT approaches the best validated non-pharmacological treatments for depression in adolescents, adults and persons in late life,” said Neal Ryan, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Beating the Blues is a validated, web-based therapy and it offers the possibility of more cost-effective treatment and better availability of treatment.

“For some. this approach may be sufficient; for others, it will be a valuable adjunct to pharmacological and other psychotherapeutic approaches.”

“The UPMC Insurance Services Division is at the leading edge of delivering technology-based solutions, and we are delighted to be working in partnership with such an eminent health care company,” said Nigel Brabbins, chief executive officer of Ultrasis. “Ultrasis will benefit significantly from UPMC’s knowledge of the U.S. health care system, and the joint venture through U(2) can immediately commence the sales process across a number of key markets.”

About UPMC Health Plan

UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by UPMC, one of the nation’s top-ranked health systems. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC WorkPartners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health — offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers’ compensation products and services to nearly 1.6 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 125 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.


Source: PR Newswire