Amit Mehta will be a Keynote Speaker @ 3rd International Conference on Obesity and Diabetes in Spain on May 21-22, 2020. His topic will be “Personalized, contextual, real-time, interactive patient engagement can control obesity”.

Elevare Systems.AI is developing a Voice-BOT for obesity management, rendered as an app, called “Khoch” (pronounced as ‘coach’), thus available 24×7, for ‘intelligent’ conversations. It is like a ‘coach’ of an individual wanting to lose weight and thus acts as a buddy/ friend guiding him/ her to make healthy choices. The solution also has a web-based system, wherein partner nutritionists/ dieticians/ weight mgmt clinics get real-time data of the individual and can also assign a diet-plan. During the conversation, when asked, Khoch gives personalized meals of the day, as advised by a nutritionist. When asked, Khoch can schedule appointments with the nutritionist, in case any issues with the diet-plan. Khoch nudges the individual to stay healthy through educational tips, Do’s and Don’ts and other FAQs. It acts as a “Virtual Avatar” of a nutritionist, 24×7, but cannot replace them, as real-world advise is given by a nutritionist.

We are working on few Pilots and the interesting journey has begun.


Elevare Systems.AI pitched its virtual assistant, Khoch (pronounced ‘coach’), at the HealthTech Arcade event sponsored by Optum @ T-Hub. There were many submissions, but only 10 start-ups were given a chance to pitch, Elevare Systems.AI was amongst them.

Khoch, is a Voice BOT, rendered on a smartphone and has a back-end system through which an entity can manage it’s patient/ client base. Each patient can have it’s own unique diet and exercise plan added through the back-end, which Khoch will refer to, to nudge a patient/ obese person to lead a healthy life. It is a buddy/ companion who is with the person 24×7 and can be a great tool for FAQs, Do’s and Don’ts and Educational tips.

We are in discussions with # of entities and doctor community for adoption/ roll-out.

Elevare Systems and Lab32

Elevate Systems.AI has been selected to be part of T-Hub’s (India’s largest start-up incubator) Lab-32 Batch 2 Program. There were over 500 applicants and only 45 has been selected and Elevare Systems.AI is one of them. This, in a way, is a redemption of the ‘voice-based virtual assistant’ called “Khoch” (pronounced /kəʊtʃ/), whose beta version will be launched beginning of July. The tech team, primarily outside India, is currently toiling hard to make finishing touches. We are excited about being part of Lab32 and launch of beta version of Khoch. Exciting times ahead!

What is Lab32?

Lab32 is a six month long comprehensive incubation program, tailor-made for early-stage tech product startups. Through a series of six different playbooks, Lab32 provides guidance of immense value to the startups, supported by an outstanding community of top-notch corporates, mentors, partners and investors. Also, it provides several opportunities to network with renowned industrialists with regular interventions and networking sessions

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6539029658149707776

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6539023670365515777


Competitive landscape

While living in US many years back, had seen the competition between pharma companies, with the intense commercials that ran on TV and radio. And yes, the Providers also used to advertize, but they generally used to be the big names/ brands. The marketing dollars are now getting spread to smaller clinical practices, away from print and TV, to social media. The neighborhood clinics are now vying for the same patient, who might have earlier gone to a large health system, as same/ equivalent services are offered by smaller neighbourhood clinics. More so, now that patients do proper research online, before choosing their care-giver, as there are choices available. And the neighborhood care-givers, understanding the power of online advertising, are now going full-steam, allocating marketing dollars, for both awareness and foot-falls.

The Campaigns

The campaigns need to be well-crafted and understood. While care-givers understand their market and patients, they need to work with digital marketing agencies/ teams, who can help them position their clinical expertize properly, on social media. And while care-givers focus on what they are good at, i.e. providing best care to their patients, digital marketing professionals work at the background, evolving the campaigns, so as to create maximum eye-ball impressions. This is an important symbiotic relationship that needs to be well understood by care-givers and the digital marketers.

Return of doctor house call (and their online campaigns)

While managing Google Ad campaigns for US clinical practices, am seeing a trend that is coming back – return of doctor house call. There are many entities advertising doctor house calls. A few start-ups (which are now more than start-ups now) like Heal in CA that has raised over $69 million, promotes the use of its smartphone apps to ‘connect the dots’ between patients and doctors. The patients who use Heal, find it convenient, as it avoids them to go to ED. And there is Pager in NY, that has raised over $29 million, uses a combination of video consult and house call. The big appeal for house call is flat-fee and convenience. Then there is Mend in Dallas that costs between $50 and $199 per visit. There is considerable $ spend on online campaigns, by these entities.

Advertising $ spend

The $ spend on online marketing is not just confined to few start-ups that get millions of dollars, in various rounds of funding and gotta use those dollars to promote themselves, but also from traditional brick-n-mortar neighborhood clinics, who want foot-falls to their clinics. In both cases, patients are benefitted, as there is convenience and less outflow from patient’s pocket and Google’s cash registers are ringing!!

Overview

Recently, I attended a session of a referral network group. I had not attended it before, so was a 1st time experience. It is an interesting model, wherein we join this group by paying a fee and then we network with members, who can refer business, from their contacts. I joined the session as a visitor and at the end of the session, they asked me about my interest in joining the group. It was a tentative yes, coz wanted to know more about it, especially the members of this chapter were entrepreneurs in business verticals, where AI would just be a fad and very low possibility of business. But, one never knows, so a tentative yes.

Follow-ups

Well, that tentative yes, led to a series of calls from the core team members, to join the group. My candid question was WIFM? Do they foresee any possibilities of any business for my organization? The folks on the call didn’t have an answer, so a F2F meeting was organized.

Staying invested…

The guys who came for F2F meeting tried to convince to join the group, even though there was no certainty or clarity re: any ROI. They kept saying that one should stay invested in the group and possibly, one fine day some dude may give some business.

Only that part clicked with me, not to join the group, but to staying invested. As a general principle it is to keep plugging, as long as one can or in other words if you have the means, staying invested in the mission that one is on. It definitely boils down to ability to sustain the mission, financially, emotionally and strategically. For us, financially, it is tight-rope walk, but as long as the team has the passion, we will stay invested in the product we are developing.

Carpe Diem!

Background

The experience of running customer engagement program for diabetes clinics gave deep insights into the impact of constant interactions, motivations and education to patients.

Each of our outbound calls to patients, was an educational call, telling them about impact of diabetes on brain, eyes, heart, kidneys, foot. Some of our calls were educating the need for regular check-up, besides the need for regular measurement of their blood glucose levels.

It came out quite apparently that patients were poorly educated about the complications due to diabetes. They really appreciated the education and insights provided. It was evident that the compliance levels to a treatment protocol, shot up. This was also presented as a report to reputed BMJ, comparing outcomes, for a cohort of patients who were constantly engaged and another cohort, who were not part of this customer engagement program, over a 6 month period. For the 1st group, the HbA1C levels fell by 0.7% and for the 2nd group, it shot up by 1.2%. Thus, clearly demonstrating that customer engagement has deep impact on improving compliance to a care plan.

Execution challenges

While constant engagement showed excellent clinical outcomes, to achieve that, diabetes clinics had to juggle with –

  • Trained manpower
  • Number of staff, depending on the volume of patients
  • High attrition rate
  • Non availability of team, outside of office hours
  • Constant and periodic retraining
  • Analysis of call recordings for constant improvements

Thus, it required the diabetes clinics to create different processes, metrics and teams to handle above and yet, that success was not good

Virtual avatar

Thus, came the birth of ‘virtual avatar’ of a clinical ‘subject matter expert’. The ‘virtual avatar’ would be ‘trained’ sufficiently to interact with the patients, 24x7x365, through a smartphone, which has become pervasive in today’s world. This ‘virtual avatar’ is a voice based virtual assistant that is developed using AI models and techniques, trained using a conversational corpus and understands the compliance guidelines, given by the ‘subject matter expert’, to an individual, during 1st interaction, to ‘intelligently’ interact at regular intervals. The idea is to nudge the patient to follow compliance guidelines given, so as to stay healthy.

Virtual avatar for obesity

Obesity has reached chronic proportions in the western world due to affluence, abundance and marketing of large corporations. In US itself, 35-40% of population is obese and a large # in pre-obese category. Clinically, obesity leads to other serious complications, like diabetes, hyper-tension and CVD.

This gives birth to creating virtual avatar for obesity. It is going to be a game changer, as will nudge patients to lead a healthy lifestyle. There are many offshoots that can be carved out from this program. It is at its early stage and should mature in next 6 months.