logo

BLOG

MindMeld and Sense.ly Launch Solution to Enable a New Generation of AI-Powered Healthcare Applications

June 24, 2015



MindMeld, the first platform for building AI-powered voice-driven applications, today announced a new solution in partnership with Sense.ly, the breakthrough “virtual nurse” application that provides proven, personalized patient monitoring and follow-up care. MindMeld and Sense.ly are leveraging the latest advances in artificial intelligence to build customized virtual assistant applications for the healthcare industry. See this video for a demonstration: https://youtu.be/gUfRc_aIntA.

“We created Sense.ly to put an intelligent virtual nurse in the palm of every patient’s hand to make healthcare easy and accessible,” said Adam Odessky, Chief Executive Officer of Sense.ly. “By complementing physician expertise with advanced machine learning, MindMeld is helping us enable healthcare providers to deliver better care at lower costs.”

In the U.S. alone, $3.8 trillion was spent on healthcare in 2014. Half of that gargantuan total comes from so-called ‘frequent fliers’, who require repeated hospitalization for the same unmanaged chronic conditions. Physicians agree that consistent medical monitoring, alerting, and consultation dramatically reduces costs for this group of high-risk patients. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry simply doesn’t have enough resources to monitor patient health 24 hours a day. Artificial intelligence and machine learning promise to greatly improve the monitoring of patients and ultimately help doctors and nurses provide better and more timely healthcare for all.

MindMeld’s platform leverages innovative AI technology and helps healthcare providers deliver around-the-clock access to medical expertise. Combined with the award-winning Sense.ly solution, the system can automate many of the most common patient services normally delivered by clinicians.

The combination of Sense.ly’s telemedicine platform and MindMeld’s AI allows users to have their own intelligent, interactive virtual nurse. Using Sense.ly’s smartphone application, a patient can interact with a compassionate nurse avatar using simple voice commands and ask a wide range of health-related questions. MindMeld’s AI technology is used to understand the meaning of the spoken questions and provide answers or relevant medical information. If necessary, the application can connect the patient to a nurse or a doctor via a video visit. Since many common requests can be addressed without requiring a doctor or nurse consultation, this technology promises to reduce costs while maintaining a high quality of care.

With this new solution, a patient using Sense.ly will be able to ask questions such as, “I have ringing in my ears and am feeling dizzy and nauseous. What should I do?” MindMeld will then understand the meaning of the question and determine what the patient might be experiencing. Through advanced language understanding technology, MindMeld can provide detailed information about possible conditions and where to turn to for help.

“Just a few years ago, building an application such as Sense.ly’s was simply not possible with the available technology,” said Tim Tuttle, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Expect Labs, the company behind MindMeld. “With the recent advances in AI and machine learning, a new generation of tools is emerging that can interpret and answer many spoken requests which formerly could only be answered by skilled medical practitioners.”

“Natural interfaces and AI will completely change the way we access information on our smartphone or any connected device,” said Eddy Lee, Head of Investments at Fenox VC, which is an investor in both Sense.ly and Expect Labs. “We have great belief in the two teams, and are stoked that they are achieving synergy through this partnership.”

About Sense.ly

Sense.ly offers a breakthrough “virtual nurse” patient engagement solution that provides proven, personalized monitoring and follow-up care with a strong focus on patients with chronic diseases. The Sense.ly solution combines innovative avatar-based technology, advanced sensor capabilities, and telemedicine features that generate actionable, real-time data and intelligent analytics, enabling clinicians to make better, timelier care decisions. Sense.ly’s solution has won many awards including winning the American Heart Association Health Tech competition, Novartis mHealth Challenge, and Allscripts Open API Challenge. Its customers are some of the most prominent medical institutions in the world including University of California – San Francisco and the National Health Service of the UK. For more information, visit www.sense.ly.

About MindMeld

MindMeld, created by Expect Labs, is the first technology platform that enables companies to build intelligent voice interfaces for any application or device. Over 1500 companies use this service to power next-generation, voice-driven experiences that enable users to quickly find and navigate information in a range of applications. MindMeld’s customers and investors include some of largest technology companies in the industry including Google, Samsung, Intel, Telefonica, Liberty Global, IDG as well as some of the largest automobile manufacturers and government agencies. MindMeld has been widely recognized as a leader in the field of voice-driven computing and was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “100 Brilliant Companies” of 2015 and by MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s “50 Smartest Companies” of 2014. More information about MindMeld is available at mindmeld.com.

Media Contacts

Margo Mendez-Penate, Spark for Expect Labs
expectlabs@sparkpr.com

Bayley McDaniel for Sense.ly
bayley@sense.ly


Sense.ly Raises $2.2 Million in Series A Funding Launchpad Digital Health Leads Investment to Open New Markets and Drive Product Enhancements

June 22, 2015

Sense.ly, the virtual nurse platform for patient engagement and chronic disease monitoring announced at the Digital Health Summer Summit today that it has raised $2.2 million in a Series A round of funding, with investors including Launchpad Digital Health, Fenox Venture Capital, and TA Ventures. Sense.ly will leverage the new round of funding to launch new markets, expand its support of its global customer base, and drive enhancements to its award-winning product, particularly in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Sense.ly’s mobile-first virtual nurse, Molly, engages patients with natural conversation through a wide variety of circumstances from simple administrative needs through complex chronic conditions requiring medical assistance. Aided by Molly, patients can take their vitals measurements; chat about their pain, sleep, stress, and diet; or be connected to an attending physician via video call, if patients show elevated risks.

“We see tremendous potential in using Sense.ly’s innovative technology to enable our entire Clinical Commissioning Group to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost for our most highly prevalent conditions such as hypertension and depression,” said Paul Maybach, CEO, NHS Dudley CCG. “Our patients’ experience to date using the product has been extremely positive and we are anticipating to deploy the technology across the entire organization.”

Dr. Jonathan Darby, (General Practitioner, Halesowen, West Midlands) added: “I am convinced Sense.ly technology will help patients navigate the NHS better, help clinicians manage demand more efficiently and provide invaluable support to doctors in helping to monitor and manage many medical conditions in a far more convenient way for patients, doctors and nurses alike.”

Sense.ly also announced new customers and partners that have deployed the service including the National Health Service of the UK, Dudley CCG, Novartis, and UCSF. Sense.ly’s intuitive interface is available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, along with 24 other languages, supporting health care administration in various regions of the United States as well as many countries around the world.

“Our steadily growing customer base and revenue combined with this current equity raise gives us the runway to intelligently scale the business, reach new geographies, and accelerate product development to reach our vision of providing the highest quality patient care at dramatically lower costs,” said Adam Odessky, Sense.ly’s Co-Founder and CEO.

“The powerful combination of consumer facing healthcare, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is already making a deep impact in keeping patients healthier and providers less burdened,” said Fred Toney, Partner, Launchpad Digital Health. “Launchpad Digital Health is thrilled to have partnered with Sense.ly in its mission to creatively disrupt the healthcare system.”

About Sense.ly

Sense.ly offers a breakthrough “virtual nurse” patient engagement solution that provides proven, personalized monitoring and follow-up care with a strong focus on patients with chronic diseases. The Sense.ly solution combines innovative avatar-based technology, advanced sensor capabilities, and telemedicine features that generate actionable, real-time data and intelligent analytics, enabling clinicians to make better, timelier care decisions. Sense.ly’s solution has won many awards including winning the American Heart Association Health Tech competition, Novartis mHealth Challenge, and Allscripts Open API Challenge. Its customers are some of the most prominent medical institutions in the world including University of California – San Francisco and the National Health Service of the UK. For more information, visit www.sense.ly.

Media Contact: Bayley McDaniel Email: Bayley@sense.ly




FREQUENT FLYERS




By Adam Odessky, Co-Founder and CEO, Sense.ly
February 5, 2015



My grandmother is a frequent flyer. No, she’s not zipping across the world at 86. A frequent flyer in medical speak is a term for a patient that gets hospitalized for the same cluster of problems over and over again. To be blunt about it, my grandma belongs to a small group of chronic patients that consumes about 50 per cent of the entire health care spending in America.

Because of her ongoing heart problems, she gets to see her doctors more often than she gets to see me. Not because her physicians are bad. For many high-risk patients, such as my grandma, the problem is time. Health care industry simply doesn’t have enough resources to monitor patient health 24 hours a day. It never will. Unless artificial intelligence and machine learning become part of the system.

That’s why we created Molly – a virtual nurse in the palm of your hand. Molly provides that bridge between human interaction and the power of machines. Molly is a smart, empathetic, and a highly educational machine that can help doctors deliver better and timelier care at lower costs.

No, I have not invented Molly to help my grandma. That would make a good story, but things don’t happen that way. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I was interested in building robots. Resources were limited, but I was keen to succeed. Later, studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois, I took my dream to the next level, thinking how to combine artificial intelligence with biology.

Fast-forward to my time in business school. Looking into the operational architectures of Health IT systems I was mind-boggled at how something as important as health care can have so many implausible regulatory, operational, and psychological barriers. Then, after years of working in the telecommunications and interactive voice response industries, Molly was born. And I can’t wait to see her being used by every patient out there!

Consider this simple example. When patients get admitted to a hospital for a serious heart condition, clinicians spend 4 to 6 hours a week educating them about their disease. Then, prior to discharge, patients spend an hour and a half with nurses and pharmacy educators on what to do at home. After discharge, some patients get phone calls at home a few times a week and some even get visits. On top of that, there are personal visits to the hospital, too.

Are you still with me? I hope you are because it’s a long ride and the one without a thrill. All of these follow-ups are very expensive procedures, which can get even pricier if the patient is non-compliant and his or her condition exacerbates. Average hospitalization costs are $50,000 to $70,000 for a 5-day stay. And a hospital will have to bear the costs if the patient gets readmitted within a month after discharge.

Now if Molly were in the picture, she’d save precious time for many physicians and nurses as well as costs for providers. Medicare has recently recognized the benefits of telemedicine and continuous follow-ups and now offers $42 per patient per month to participating providers. However, this reimbursement scheme – while well intentioned – is difficult to make operationally profitable due to the costs of additional labor, telecom, and monitoring equipment. A large capital outlay required becomes a disincentive for providers.

This is where Molly comes in. Being a Software-as-a-Service gives us the ability to only charge for what is being used and reimbursed for, with minimal capital to get started and practically zero risk.

Some may worry that we are in the business of replacing nurses and doctors. We are not. Molly is here to fill in the gaps that clinicians can’t. I don’t think we’ll ever lose that human bond that exists between doctors and patients. Molly stratifies patients by risk and serves as an early warning system for clinicians before symptoms exacerbate. This enables clinicians to help their patients faster.

Molly’s is poised to become an analytical tool to help doctors make highly personalized and accurate decisions about diagnoses, treatment options, and surgeries. From the pilots we’ve done so far, Molly has made big progress. There are thousands of patients already using Molly on a daily basis. Almost all the heart failure patients participating in the eHeart study at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center find Molly helpful, engaging, friendly, and easy to use. My grandma, as one example, says she loves talking to her because Molly listens, as well as responds, remembers and reassures.

Patients – who you think would be distrustful of a machine – get used to interactions with Molly fairly quickly. Remember the 2013 popular drama with Joaquin Phoenix Her? I don’t see it as science fiction any more. People developing relationships with virtual humans is a new reality. In a recent study by the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, researchers found that patients interact longer and more frequently with virtual human interfaces than with voice-only, Siri-like tools or generic mobile apps.

Clinicians find Molly’s technology integrated rather seamlessly into their work. They get alerted only when something goes off track and requires a timely intervention. Insurance companies benefit by saving costs on readmissions and by delivering better customer care to their patients.

So while the benefits of using digital medicine seem operationally efficient and medically sound, what’s holding the industry back? There’s a reputational risk for early adopters because none of this has been done before. There’re no large-scale, evidence-backed studies to proof that digital technology improves health, prolongs life and saves costs. Trust and acceptance are hard to win and we get it. There are many snake-oil salesmen with glitzy startups trying to disrupt the field.

We are here for the science. We are here for the economy-class passengers who got tired of subsidizing frequent flyers. We are here to make Molly into a smart, helpful and friendly face of the highly complex medical industry. And I think that’s why you are here, too.