Nemours Children’s Health System researchers have found that an Artificial Intelligence-powered mHealth chatbot platform can assist adolescents to manage their weight management program and cut their chances of having any health issues like diabetes. Recently published the health system’s report on a Translational Behavioral Medicine issue clarifies that an SMS text platform integrated with a chatbot called Tess improved patient engagement and often initiated conversations that participants found helpful in supporting their weight management goals.
In a statement, Laura Hernandez, who participated in the study stated that “Everyone is used to AI technology, it’s like Siri on your iPhone, so texting with a chatbot isn’t that weird.” She continues that “The difference with Tess is that you can actually text her about what you need to achieve or improve your goals and she’s encouraging. You can’t do that with Siri.” But she added that “Tess would ask me, ‘Did you meet that goal?’ and then give me ways to improve or encourage me to continue working on that goal.” However, the program is the latest effort by the researchers and care providers in order to advance telehealth and mHealth services to provide a 24/7 connection to resources and support patients. It’s also fine-tuning caregiver workflows to make the best use of their time. Moving forward, researchers noted that the platform took part in mHealth conversations that would have taken staff hundreds of hours to answer, resulting in a savings of almost $9,000.
Spending about 5 years to create a library of goal setting behavioral interactions for Tess, Nemours had worked with digital health platform X2ai and also spent 2 years for populating the chatbot with hundreds of prompts and responses for adolescents facing stoutness and pre-diabetes symptoms. Researchers also customized the platform for addressing specific patients, including a teenage boy who likes to play basketball or a young girl who enjoys cooking.