Sheltering at home appears to be an effective defense against COVID-19. However, the lockdown’s confinement and restricted contact with friends and family on top of the daily pall of virus-related news induce significant stress for many people. The increased stress is especially difficult for individuals with mental health issues, particularly people suffering from anxiety and depression.

Lief Therapeutics, the developer of the Lief patch heart rate variability (HRV) and respiration rate sensor, recently announced a partnership with Genoa Telepsychiatry. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) broadened Medicare telehealth coverage during the current pandemic emergency. The COVID-19 crisis-related expansion enables Lief Therapeutics and Genoa Telepsychiatry to work together to offer mental health services to Lief wearers.

We wrote about the Lief wearable in 2016 when it first launched in a Kickstarter campaign. The Lief wearable is a flexible patch that includes two ECG electrode stickers which allows it to track HRV. When the HRV rate exceeds a configured target range, the patch vibrates to help the wearer manage stress by breathing in time with the vibrations. Lief users configure HRV ranges and other settings via a mobile app that also monitors other biosensor data.

Under the agreement with Genoa Telepsychiatry, the Lief remote patient monitoring platform can now connect patients with the mental health service provider for virtual care without leaving their homes. Patients won’t face additional stress about medical bills due to the CMS coverage expansion. And Lief users will be able to access the telehealth service from any location directly without a primary care referral.