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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: ProofPilot

Small Business Snapshot: ProofPilot Credit: Totah Behavioral Health

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Matthew Amsden, CEO of ProofPilot, explains how this image represents his business.

The pharma and academic sectors use research techniques like the randomized controlled trial and longitudinal outcome study to determine how to improve human and societal health. The problem is, these techniques are so complex and expensive very few of them get done.

ProofPilot makes those same techniques previously only available to academia and pharma available to anyone – the Ph.D. is optional. Providers or consumers, without research experience, can design a study on the latest body hacking trends, social service programs or an education program, and quickly launch it to participants. ProofPilot handles all the regulatory concerns automatically; you just sit back and review scientifically valid findings in near real time.

Our health and wellbeing is determined by a combination of genetics, environment, behaviors, activities, and programs. And yet, we only test pharmaceutical treatments in a vacuum for efficacy. Not every "treatment" is a pill, and not every pill is right for every person – even if they are suffering from the same illnesses.

For example, Native Americans suffer from far higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse than average because of a unique combination of societal and cultural issues. But, we still provide the same treatment to those individuals as we do to everyone else. Why? Because these generic treatments are the ones that have "evidence," and with "evidence," someone can get paid for it (by the government or insurance companies).

Totah Behavioral Health in Farmington, New Mexico, is using ProofPilot to test the impact of weekly sweat lodge as part of a holistic alcohol and drug abuse treatment program. With the resulting evidence, if the addition, reduces alcohol and substance abuse dependence, Totah, and other treatment centers can replicate the intervention in other locations, get reimbursed by insurers, and be more competitive for government and foundation funding.

Randomized controlled trial techniques can be used to determine what prevents illness, and what optimize physical and mental performance in the healthy. It can even be used to test major social and public policy changes and new educational programs. But to do so, we have to help people think beyond pharma.

The next blockbuster treatments to cure diseases and problems aren't going to be pills that come from big pharma. They are going to be ideas that come from independent physicians, body-hackers, social service agencies, and patient advocacy groups that combine traditional biomedical treatments with alternative therapies, changes in behavior and environment. ProofPilot's primary goal is to enable these non-traditional researchers to discover solutions with scientific proof. Everyone should realize that creating and participating in research not only cures problems, but it can be personally fulfilling and insightful as well.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.