Catalia Health is on a mission to address both sides of the healthcare equation: improving patients’ health and extending the capabilities and efficiency of healthcare companies. With an aim to catalyse lasting behaviour change for patients, wherever they are, to provide them with encouragement and motivation to achieve the best possible medical outcomes. At the same time, they provide deep insights to healthcare companies to optimise the efficacy of their services. They believe that to improve behaviour they have to measure it—and keep measuring it over the long term. That’s why they came up with Mabu—because a platform should be easy to use, engaging, and tailored to each patient. It’s estimated that 117 million people could end up using this particular robot.
Can you tell us a little bit about Catalia Health?
So the picture overview is Catalia Health is a chronic disease care management company, so we help patients who are dealing with chronic conditions to do so or more successfully. Where we sit is our customers are actually large pharma companies or hospital systems who are looking to help keep patients on therapy or out of the hospital for longer and we do this in a fairly unique way from an interface and technology standpoint, we actually give our patients a cute little robot that sits on their kitchen counter, bedside table, coffee table, the living room and talks to them and so most of the work that we do on the technology side is actually the artificial intelligence algorithms behind that are creating a conversation for that specific patient at that point in time, based on what we know about them medically and psychologically so we’re able to tailor the conversation, and what we learned through that conversation the data that we get back is going back to the human caregiver whether that be the doctor care manager, nurse, the pharmacist so we’re helping those individuals provide better care to more patients in a much more scalable way than is available today
Tell us a little bit about Mabu
So the robot itself, the interface we give to patients, Mabu is this cute little robot that sits on someone’s kitchen counter, bedside table, and literally has a conversation back and forth with a patient, So from a robotics perspective from the mechanical side of it, it’s a relatively simple device, it doesn’t walk around to move around the home. The head and the eyes can move around, she’ll look at you and make eye contact while she’s talking to you. She speaks out loud, there’s a screen on the front, she can also show where she’s saying to people, while she’s talking to them, and then they can respond by either speaking back to, or using buttons on the same screen so the interaction is very simple the set up process for someone who gets mabu is to take her out of the box, plug her in, and hit the power button and that’s it. Everything else happens, simply through conversation.
How can your company work synergistically with existing medical practices?
So one of the things that we focus on is really fitting in with existing workflows, you know a portion of our team have clinical backgrounds, doctors, nurses, and psychologists. Part of what we do when we’re working with our customers is to understand what they do today with patients and what their needs are, and so the interface that we give to patients this robot is obviously very unique and different than anything else. What we try to do from an overall workflow perspective as fit into exactly what happens today, we’re not trying to change that we’re trying give our customers, pharma companies, the healthcare systems, a tool that they can use as part of their existing practice to better manage patients, and so practically speaking what that means is as we are developing a new application, say the work that we’ve been doing in our healthcare for the last half of the year, how do we get the data back from Mabu, into the doctor’s office, to the right person, in a way that’s going to help them do their job in a better way, and so the answer to that varies depending which customer or partner we’re working with but overall that’s the focus of what we do, how do we get this, and to the health care system as it exists today.
How much is AI a part of your solution and can you explain in depth the practical applications of AI?
AI is really a critical piece of our solution. Overall we think about what we do as really having three components, so the foundation is really about psychology not about technology and two types of psychology that we draw from one is the psychology of relationships, how do we as people create, build up, and maintain relationships over time. As well as the psychology of behaviour change. How do we help someone to continue to do something over time that they’re trying to do. So that’s the first piece. The second is medicine or medical best practices so what are the best practices or guidelines that were helping a particular patient, population with? What are we trying to help someone do over time? and the third piece then the piece that ties us all together, are artificial intelligence algorithms, and the key things that they are doing are really about generating a conversation for that patient at that point in time, and so in the background we’re building up this medical and psychological model of each individual and using that information we have about the person, we’re creating the conversation for them at this point in time. So a conversation may frequently start off with “oh hey how are you feeling this morning?” and based on the answer that a patient gives, the conversation could go off in many different directions, and so having those AI algorithms that are able to create that tailored conversation, are key to what really makes this work.
What makes Catalia health the better choice for the medical industry?
So if we look at what our competition might be, we can talk about two things. On of the technology side ,we see a lot of gadgets and devices and apps that are supposedly trying to solve the same challenges around medication adherence, that Mabu helps with. But the purpose of all of those is that people forget to take their medications and so you end up with a lot of reminders that might send a message or beep or glow or text you, or many other things, but the problem with those is the real challenge that patients have is not forgetting to take their medications, it’s the many other issues that go with dealing with chronic disease. It’s dealing with the symptoms or the side effects of the treatment or the psycho social issues that come with that. With chronic disease we have unfortunately have much higher incidents of anxiety, depression and stress related issues. So these are the things the that Mabu really tackles. Now the way it’s done today the reality of the marketplace is many of these gadgets are not very widespread, the actual programs that are in place, tend to be nurses on the phone and call centres,or making home visits to patients. So the way that it’s done today involves a lot of people time, and so part of what that means is the reality is that they can interact with patients very infrequently, and so what we’re doing here is not replacing those people those calls, say from a call centre that we are working with, might happen right now, once or twice a month but the reality for patients dealing with these issues is there are challenges every single day and so maybe is there to fill in the days in between and get that information back to those nurses and doctors that are providing the care, so when they do make the calls there are times where the patient really needs it, and they’re armed with a lot more information so they can come into that in a way that’s going to be much more helpful to the individual dealing with this disease. Where we are, which is if you look at our website, there’s a video of a robot there. These are actually in production now, and we’re about to start shipping to patients initially around the United States that’s where our initial pharma and healthcare system customers are. Patients who will be getting these is in just a few weeks time, and soon we’ll be doing things in other parts of the world. One of the things that we are always looking for are additional health care systems and pharma companies who are looking to use this who are also looking for patient testers, people who are dealing with various chronic conditions and come to our website cataliahealth.com, and there’s a place where they can send us a message and we’re looking for people who actually want to try out maybe when they’re home for anywhere f