February 21, 2019 | 4-minute read (713 words)
Mabu couldn’t be any cuter. You can’t help but want to interact with her.
Catalia Health is banking on that.
Their flagship product is a tabletop healthcare companion robot that uses daily interaction with patients to improve their health outcomes. As a liaison between patients and healthcare companies (health systems and pharmaceutical companies), Mabu engages patients in order to manage treatment, gather data, and promote behavior changes.
Mabu gives providers timely data about patients—the dosing and timing of medication, daily activity, and nutrition. The Catalia Health platform tailors Mabu’s conversations with patients, based on proven behavioral psychology models.
“We’re building care management programs. Mabu is the interface that sits in the patient’s home. AI and machine learning are under the hood, and we’ve built a platform to deliver the best treatment to patients in real time,” says Dr. Cory Kidd, CEO.
Dr. Kidd’s work—for nearly two decades—focuses on innovative technology solutions for large-scale healthcare challenges. At MIT for his Ph.D., he conducted studies that showed psychological and clinical advantages of using a physical robot over screen-based interactions. (You can read his thesis here.)
“There’s great technology behind Mabu—the AI, machine learning, the robotics, and the platform—but what really makes it work is the focus on the medicine and the psychology,” says Dr. Kidd.
More than 190 million Americans (about 59 percent of the population) live with a chronic illness. Cardiovascular disease, COPD, late-stage kidney disease, and diabetes contribute to poorer quality of life, lost productivity, and premature death. On top of that, they’re the major contributors to rising healthcare costs: 5 percent of people account for 50 percent of healthcare spending in America.
By having conversations that last four or five minutes each day, Mabu can encourage patients to keep up with their treatment plan, which improves patient health, which can decrease their healthcare costs.
Besides being approachable and trustworthy, Mabu is important because of her delivery method: Dr. Kidd’s research and clinical studies at Boston University Medical Center demonstrate that robots are more effective than apps at keeping patients engaged long-term.
“So much of our work is face to face, especially with medicine. We intuitively understand that there’s something different about being in the same room, and we’re more engaged. These differences carry over into the world of technology. A screen would be easy, but delivering conversations through the robot gives an engagement that’s more like face to face, and that is more engaging in the long term,” explains Dr. Kidd.
With chronic conditions, long-term regular engagement is key—and it’s an area in which the industry could use some gains.
“We don’t have enough medical staff to do check in on patients with chronic health problems,” says Dr. Kidd. Mabu deals with the day-to-day check-ins with patients and alerts their provider when they need human intervention. Mabu is taking care of the touchpoints needed to deliver better care.”
In addition to creating a trustworthy platform and a robust backend, Catalia Health spends a lot of time developing the workflow integration surrounding the provider. “If it’s not used, it will never matter how good your data or interface is.”
Working With EGFS
In May of 2017, during another round of funding, Catalia Health was introduced to Early Growth Financial Services firm. Raj Sinkar came on as a part-time CFO, and Catalia added on accounting services quickly thereafter.
“Working with EGFS as a growing company has been incredibly helpful. It lets us focus on the things that we're good at and brings in some great expertise in finance and accounting to help us move much faster than we could otherwise,” says Kidd.
Sinkar says, “Working with Catalia has been a blast. 2019 is about growth. I'm excited about 2019 as we push for growth by expanding our roll-outs to more patients."
Check out Mabu in action here. Follow Catalia Health on Twitter to keep up with news.
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