This lifelong digital assistant will help you live a healthier life

Friday, November 8, 2019

Digital platform iamYiam provides evidence-based recommendations on how to live a healthier life, personalized to an individual's biology and preferences. This article is part of a series about the power of innovation to solve social and economic challenges. Stories and statistics are drawn from the Global Innovation Index 2019 – your guide to world-changing ideas.

 

The rapid rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases reflects global changes to the way we live, work and eat.

 

So-called lifestyle diseases now account for, including mental health, 90% of public and private health spending in developed economies, and have become the leading cause of death in developing countries.

 

As well as shortening lives, NCDs are reducing the meaningfulness of progress made in increasing life expectancy: half of a retiree’s remaining years will be significantly worsened by one or more lifestyle-related illnesses, reducing their quality of life and adding treatment costs.

 

Meet Syd, AI health expert

 

Software app iamYiam applies to health the same optimization-focused, evidence-based decision-making that is used in the investment world. It’s based on the idea that optimal health is largely the result of an efficient allocation of time, energy, and nutrients, in the context of an individual’s biological, environmental, and psychological peculiarities.

 

 

At the heart of the platform is an artificial intelligence agent referred to as See Yourself Differently (Syd). Syd estimates its user’s current state of health and well-being, making platform-wide observations that help optimize specific advice. Over 200,000 published research papers were referenced to create the baseline for the app’s predictions. Syd continuously improves upon these by using its internal model and comparing with its interactions with all users. Progress in a user's journey to better health is tracked and displayed, allowing Syd to provide accurate, adaptive information.

 

The marketplace is another feature of the service. This gives access to vetted practitioners and nutrition providers who offer users a range of resources such as therapies, classes and meal plans. Individual health information, personalized recommendations, and resources are accessible in one health account with lifetime access.

 

The role of health apps

 

A challenge of bringing this innovation to market was the product’s complexity and scope, with questions raised about who might be looking for such a close partner in health as Syd. In practice, the idea is gaining traction with employers hoping to enhance staff well-being and boost productivity.

 

Because Syd does not perform disease diagnosis, iamYiam remains a preventative tool. However, the company hopes that as medicine increasingly focuses on prevention, there may be opportunities for future collaborations with innovators in disease treatment.

 

This piece is extracted from Innovation and Health: How big data, artificial intelligence, and other technologies are changing healthcare

 

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