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February 15, 2017

Virtual nurse app by Sense.ly raises $8 million from investors

Bringing healthcare to peoples home is a big trend in health. Start-up Sense.ly jumps right on this bandwagon with a ‘virtual nurse’ named Molly. Their in-app nurse avatar helps physicians stay in touch with patients. Without having to physically check-in with every patient, physicians can still stay up-to-date on their wellbeing. The app automatically triggers clinician action if needed. The virtual nurse app has raised $8 million in its latest round of investments.

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Mayo Clinic, Chengwei Capital, Bioved Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital and the Stanford StartX fund raised the $8 million. Chengwei Capital led the round, believing that Sense.ly has the ability to serve the massive Chinese market.

Five minute check in

Patients subscribe to Sense.ly from their home or care facility. They then receive a personalised care plan, which allows physicians to monitor risk factors and adjust clinical protocols when needed. Patients check in with Molly, the ‘virtual nurse’ instead of travelling to their doctors office. Molly asks patients how they’re doing with a five minute check-in. This check-in can be required once a day, or once every few days. Users simply talk to the app on their mobile phone, typing is not required.

The updates are automatically entered into a medical record, which can only be viewed by authorized health providers. It’s also possible to layer the app with data from other medical devices, like wearables. Physicians receive a notification when risks change or increase and can choose to follow up via video.

More independence for 60 and older

At the moment, the app targets patients who are 60 and older and dealing with COPD, heart failure, diabetes and other age-associated health problems. To make the app work for them, since this is a group of people not necessarily comfortable with technology, Sense.ly uses commonly accepted medical protocols for diagnosing and dealing with chronic diseases when writing its rule-based engine and algorithms. The ‘virtual nurse’ may help these people to stay independent at home for a longer period of time.

Responding to the patients mood

Using artificial intelligence, Sense.ly is able to respond to a patients mood empathetically. This differentiates them from other platforms. The empathetic response should help patients feel more comfortable when addressing health concerns. After all, no one likes a chilly, robotic response to legitimate concerns.

"The technology should help healthcare professionals to do their jobs more effectively. It’s a way to support these professionals, not take their jobs", says founder Adam Odessky.

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