Personalized Medicine for Digital Health

Dalang Health is creating personal virtual health coaches that engage patients in managing their health risks by building a seamless bridge between mobile health and telehealth. We envision dynamically tailoring coaches to maintain trust and engagement with each user and use multimodal channels to nudge users toward healthier behavior.

 

We know that many touches are best for outcomes and compliance, but care teams lack the bandwidth to deliver truly effective care through digital health. We need to bridge the gap between appointment-based telemedicine and fully-automated digital therapeutics.

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Our Principles

Personalized Communication

Use Artificial Intelligence to model how a care team and different patients interact, and use the ideal language to communicate with each patient.

An App-Less Intelligence

Communicate entirely using whatever works for the patient (text messaging, Whatsapp, email, etc.) and at the times it is most effective

Human-in-the-Loop

Providers and AI can work efficiently together to discover the next best steps for health

Accessible to Everyone

Interaction can be effective at any technology competency or access level – does not necessarily require a smart phone, connected device, wifi, or smart speaker.

An AI Member of your Care Team, not an App

Dalang Health adds an additional member to a patient’s care team – an AI health coach that’s tailored specifically to that patient. Deeply founded in the psychology of behavior change and our own research, we’ve created a new AI-powered interaction paradigm that scales the successful interactions between a practitioner and patient.
Rather than an app, a robot, or chatbot, Dalang interacts with each patient using the channels the patient interacts with their friends – text messages, Whatsapp, email, and voice conversations. Using context, it provides patient-specific nudges delivered with the style and interaction modality that would work best for the patient in the specific moment.
The Dalang coach’s personality is dynamically generated based on interactions between a patient and their care team – even accounting for the sparsity of data. If there are no existing interactions to learn from, a patient chooses their starting coach personality using a quick onboarding like a dating app. The personality then adapts in real-time based on what’s working for a particular patient.

Scalability for Digital Health

We all know that digital health’s rapid expansion has put a strain on a system that wasn’t prepared for so much growth. Digital health and telehealth providers have reported up to a 4300% increase in use over the period of the pandemic, and market research shows that patients won’t be happy to return to office visits when the danger passes: they like the convenience and employers like the efficiency.
We know that more personalized care with many touches provides better outcomes, and digital health is struggling with long wait times for appointments and a doctor shortage that is only getting worse. To solve this scalability issue, some have turned to chatbots. However, purely automated chatbot apps have high levels of non-compliance (and frankly, churn) and lower effectiveness than personalized contact.
We believe there is a middle ground between automation and one-on-one patient contact. We’re building a provider dashboard and controls that surface the most important information about a patient quickly, craft personalized responses to patients that are delivered in an patient-optimal way, and help answer patient questions with automatic suggestions. Thus, the provider can handle more interactions per day with an unprecedented level of contact. We believe the care provider and AI can do more together than either can do separately, and we look to amplify care teams with assistants that help treat each patient as a whole person.

Why is Healthcare Different?

The state of Digital Health feels to us like where customer experience was as a field ten years ago: how do we help scale this system while retaining the one-on-one feel that makes it successful? And there’s a key difference between CX and health that makes this even harder. 
AI folks have built conversational technology to do one thing well: get people ‘off the phone’ as soon as possible. It has excelled in customer experience, where the goal of the software, its buyer, and the end-user is aligned. But healthcare is different - for better health outcomes, we need a deeper and more meaningful relationship between the patient and their providers, and we actually want the end user to “stay on the phone” as long as possible and build a trust-based relationship.
But it’s built into the bones of all customer experience software to automate by solving problems quickly and transactionally. This is why trying to port them to healthcare hasn’t solved problems. We at Dalang come from the world of customer experience, where we built a successful global company around augmenting customer experience and market research agents so they could focus on the important parts of their jobs: solving problems for customers.
But that company worked because the bones of CX was already in place, and digital health doesn’t have such a system. Now we need to build this system for digital health, only this time including AI from the start rather than trying to add it afterwards.

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