Next IT, developer of Alme, a virtual assistant platform, launched Alme Health Coach, a purpose-built product for chronic disease management.
The product includes a human-emulated virtual health assistant that guides patients during their time between doctor visits as they manage chronic conditions—encouraging them, through coaching and tracking, to be adherent to their health management plan.
The Health Coach is available to doctors, payers and pharmaceutical companies to help them improve the patient’s journey throughout the course of their treatment plan.
The product leverages Next IT’s artificial intelligence technology to scale a doctor’s consultation, giving the patient individual care from their smart device.
"We built Alme Health Coach to improve adherence to specific treatments plans for complex chronic diseases," Fred Brown, founder and CEO of Next IT, told eWEEK. "We believe this will make the largest near-term impact on the overall health of our population."
Brown noted the U.S. spends $317 billion a year to treat avoidable health complications, and today in the U.S. 50 percent of adults have at least one chronic condition.
"For a variety of reasons, patients fail over 50 percent of the time to follow the instructions for the treatment of diseases, and non-adherence is a critical issue in health care," he explained.
Features and benefits of the Health Coach includes a human-emulated virtual health assistant that builds a relationship with the patient through personalized, ongoing dialogue, and a health management plan interface that enables personalization of care for each patient, their provider and care team, including friends and family.
Because privacy and data security is paramount for consumers, doctors and health care providers, Health Coach is built to be discreet and secure through processes such as HIPAA compliance, multi-factor authentication and mindful alerts.
"Moreover, it's proven that people tend to be more honest with a virtual assistant, since they don't feel judged by them," Brown said. "So it is critical that we keep that data safe and secure for patients to share with their physicians."
The platform becomes personalized for each patient and can be configured for specific diseases, medications and treatments, providing patients, doctors and caregivers with trusted information.
Each virtual health assistant built on Alme is designed to address a specific chronic disease, engaging the patient to actively manage their health and improve their wellness.
With its launch, the Health Coach will first address two of the most complex chronic conditions, hemophilia and multiple sclerosis, two conditions that require intricate treatment plans that patients often find difficult to follow correctly.
Since the product is based on Next IT’s health care domain model, the company can build new health assistants for any condition, configuring features and capabilities as needed, in less than three months.
Other features include motivational mentoring, which combines a variety of approaches from behavioral psychology and medication and symptom coaching, tracking and reporting, which encourages adherence and educates during teachable moments.
"Mobile technology and health IT will make the biggest near-term impact by bridging the patient and physician gap through the widespread use of virtual health assistants," Brown said. "They'll improve our health overall by helping us actually stick to our treatment plans."