This interview is part of our new AI in Healthcare series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and healthcare.
In this interview, we speak with Dana Chanan, co-founder and CEO of Sweetch, to understand how his company is using AI to transform healthcare, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Sweetch? Why and how did you begin?
DC: Founded in 2014, Sweetch is a clinically validated mobile-health platform that utilizes artificial technology (AI) to significantly increase patients’ engagement and compliance with essential health promotion and chronic disease management recommendations through Just-in-Time Adaptive Intervention.
As an Israeli digital health startup, Sweetch aims to empower those at risk of developing chronic conditions to live healthier. Sweetch began with the drive to prevent those at risk of developing diabetes from developing the disease. More than 86 million Americans and 63 million Europeans have blood sugar levels higher than normal, and these individuals are at risk of developing diabetes without intervention. As the global epidemic continues, these individuals cannot be managed effectively through traditional human-based coaching, and therefore a more scalable solution is needed now more than ever.
Sweetch’s core philosophy is that every individual has his or her own life habits, motivations, and behavioral change progress. Therefore, generic recommendations to walk 10,000 steps and eat fewer carbohydrates may not produce sustainable and meaningful behavioral change for all individuals, especially long term. Sweetch’s artificial intelligence technology offers personalized recommendations that can be realistically achieved, and are continuously adapted to the user's past behavior. This approach promises gradual progress, hyper-personalization, and long-term adherence.
2. Please describe your use case and how Sweetch uses artificial intelligence:
DC: Sweetch uses artificial intelligence throughout the platform for large scale prediction, prevention and outcome improvement of chronic disease. Sweetch developed a proprietary machine learning platform that can predict an individual’s risk of developing a chronic disease over different time horizons of choice. This is critical for health providers to identify and stratify those at the highest risk of developing chronic conditions, to allow efficient and cost-effective resource allocation and early intervention.
From a prevention standpoint, Sweetch’s AI-powered Behavioral Intelligence Engine is designed to work in real life by converting millions of data points from the user's smartphone, connected devices, and patient-reported outcomes into contextual, hyper-personalized recommendations. These recommendations target healthier lifestyles, which include activity goals, weight management, diet and nutrition management, as well as disease management elements like medication adherence, patient-reported outcomes, and treatment protocols.
By applying predictive analytics, Sweetch continuously optimizes the user's goals and messages in order to predict which of these messages will trigger an action, with an emphasis on long-term engagement.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
DC: Sweetch has partnered with integrated health care system Wellspan Health. In the first phase, Sweetch provided its mobile health app to hundreds of Wellspan employees. Wellspan, as a leader in the development of employee wellness programs, has implemented Sweetch’s mhealth platform to enhance their current programs and make long term impact. Using a proprietary machine-learning algorithm, Sweetch identified the employees at risk of developing diabetes to in turn enable early and effective prevention.
Sweetch’s mobile health app, along with its connected Bluetooth digital scale, is able to analyze the employee’s personal, environmental and behavioral digital markers, in order to provide the users with a hyper-personalized tool that adapts to each of their life habits in real-time.
For example, this predictive AI enables the app to advise the users to take a ten-minute walk to a nearby coffee shop at a time determined by their calendar availability. These contextual, real-time and specific recommendations have empowered Wellspan users to meet their disease prevention goals and improve their clinical outcomes such as increased physical activity, weight loss, reduction in their A1C levels and ultimately the reduction of their risk of diabetes.