The first AI-powered personal health assistant is here for seniors

For seniors and others with chronic health conditions, daily hurdles can get in the way of staying healthy, in part due to managing countless prescriptions along with the memory lapses that come with aging.

Co-founders Dr. Renee Dua and Nick Desai wanted to make it easier for seniors and those diagnosed with chronic illnesses to handle everyday healthcare tasks by creating the first combined AI-human personal health assistant, which launched this week. The health assistant, named after co-founder Renee, who herself cared for a loved one, can schedule appointments, book transportation to and from appointments, deliver prescriptions, remind patients to take medications and find specialists—helping the most the vulnerable to receive personalized comprehensive health care, something that can benefit the whole family, founders say Condition.

In the app, you can find doctors who fit your insurance and remind you to take pills.

Courtesy of Renee

“We all want to have that peace of mind that the people we love have access to, frankly, what should be theirs,” says Dua. “You shouldn’t have been unable to get to the doctor because you didn’t have transportation or you didn’t take your medication because it wasn’t approved.”

To use Renee, you sign up on their website and have a 45-minute one-on-one consultation with a health concierge who will take all of your health information, including insurance, medications, conditions, health goals and social determinants of health, including fall risk. food insecurity and language barriers. Patients can then use the service to schedule appointments, including requesting home or virtual care, be reminded to take medications, and order them with a few clicks. All this information is displayed on the service dashboard, which can be accessed via phone or computer. The service partners with ride-sharing companies to provide transportation to and from appointments, and the founders say they plan to include food delivery services after their initial launch, as well as a smartphone app. All services are paid for by the consumer or the insurance plan, Desai says.

The platform features a chat service monitored by a person who can help in an emergency or if a patient feels they need a mental health provider immediately, for example.

“There’s a human being behind the system at all times,” says Desai.

In a 90-day clinical trial involving hundreds of seniors with an average age of 73 who had an average of 3.8 chronic conditions, 92% used the assistant more than five times a week, and participants were able to accept and use an average of 1.8 digital health tools increasing their chance to improve their health at home. The NetPromoter patient satisfaction score (which ranges from 0-100) was +89 during the trial period and +94 for those with caregivers. Blood pressure improved in 68% of patients with hypertension and 63% of patients with type 2 diabetes improved their A1C (a blood test measuring blood sugar level) over 90 days. After this trial, the app went through the PandemicX program of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which provided focus groups, advisors and potential investors to improve the product, after which the product raised over 8.2 million dollar.

“If you take your medication every day, if you track your vital signs, if you see your doctor regularly, your health will improve,” says Desai. “These very basic things are the things that prevent most chronic patients and most older adults from achieving better health outcomes,” noting how older adults in particular may be prescribed a drug and then find that it is out of stock at the pharmacy and forget to track and return to the store. Others may forget to take their medications regularly or make professional appointments.

This technology comes as 42 percent of older adults take five or more prescription drugs a day, according to the Lown Institute, a significant jump from two decades ago. Only about half of people in the U.S. take their medications as prescribed, and some studies suggest that number is even lower among older adults, many of whom have more pills to juggle. About 20 percent of those 65 and older report not taking medications as prescribed because of cost, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. It is estimated that failure to follow the correct medication prescription results in 125,000 deaths annually. Furthermore, living with a chronic illness not only entails significant health costs, but also indirect costs resulting from “reduced economic productivity.”

Dua and Desai aim to bridge this technology gap to make care easier and more effective for seniors who are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases. For those over 50, fewer than one in three use digital health apps at all, according to a study by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Health Policy and Innovation. Still, AARP research notes that people over 50 are increasingly interested in using technology to better manage their health.

“The idea that older Americans aren’t tech-savvy enough to embrace digital health is nonsense,” Desai said in Renee’s press release. “The problem is not the adults. It’s the technology… If a patient has diabetes, hypertension and heart health problems, should they sign up for three unrelated services that are not interoperable with each other? Nobody wants that.”

Drug delivery is free in most cases with the service, which costs $24.99 per month; the service is waiving its $99.99 activation fee until the end of 2022.

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