José Antonio Torres
CEO and Co-founder
Habits.ai
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View from the Top

Intersection of Health and Talent Through Technology

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:12

Q: What solution does Habits.ai provide to the healthcare industry?

A: Health has been transitioning from reactive to preventive medicine. The next step is predictive medicine, which is based on data and understanding the patient’s health status. Ours is a preventive medical tool that wants to be predictive.

New technologies are enabling business models that were unthinkable a few years ago. The usual model of preventive medicine, in which patients attend monthly medical appointments, has a black box between appointment and appointment. The scalability of this model relies on a doctor’s time, which is usually eight to 10 hours a day, and the number of doctors available. Habits.ai uses artificial intelligence to create a one-on-one healthcare coaching model that is scalable.

The assumption that because you understand things, you can generate sustainable change is the reasoning behind awareness campaigns launched to prevent several diseases. However, what researchers across the world are discovering is that this is just the beginning of the process. At the core of any behavioral change is a change in the subconscious. Almost 95 percent of the things we do everyday are governed by our subconscious. When driving a car for the first time, a person is entirely focused on each movement. Later, the process has been absorbed and processes become automatic. If 95 percent of our decisions are unconscious, it makes no sense to try to change our behaviors y relying on the remaining 5 percent.

Habits.ai combines artificial intelligence with a behavioral change model. We take small actions that require little ability and motivation and make patients repeat them constantly until these become part of the subconscious.

Q: What are the foundations of the CARE model Habits.ai is based on?

A: The CARE model has four categories that work as health prognosticators. Several Harvard academics and other authors have pointed out similarities in these four pillars for predictive health. The first is emotional connection. Social relationships are the most important predictor of patients’ long-term health and happiness. By looking at close friends and family, it is possible to predict how healthy and happy a person will be. The second pillar is physical activity, which is how we can do more and activate our system to avoid health threats. The third is relaxation, which is basically recharging oneself, defeating stress – the silent killer – through mindfulness and good sleeping habits. The fourth pillar is nutrition. The industry is saying that diabetes should be renamed as processed-food syndrome. We need to move on to healthier eating habits.

Q: In which sectors or population segments are you focused?

A: Our primary focus has been on the corporate world where there are large populations with low productivity levels due to chronic diseases. We have the elements we need to generate behavioral changes to combat this. First, we train the subconscious, which leads to the person having an epiphany that makes them change their environment. We spend 80 to 90 percent of our awake time in an office with a group of people, which means that if we can change our environment, we can ensure our well-being.

Habits.ai is a combination of artificial intelligence, behavioral change and gamification platform. For companies, the gamify component is key because company employees are constantly competing and thus changing their habits. We are mostly focused on 2B2 companies, where there are more opportunities to introduce more effective changes. Our promotion strategies take into account that 87 percent of employees are not committed to the company, according to Gallup. If you picture a boat, you have three people paddling forward, you have six doing nothing and you have three paddling backward. In Mexico, this scenario is worse. Meanwhile, burnout rates are growing. According to the Wall Street Journal, 96 percent of C-level positions suffer burnout while Gallup indicates that 64 percent of employees are burning out. This comes with a great cost to companies in terms of productivity, disengagement, absenteeism and labor turnover rates due to the imbalance of emotions, body and social environment, which represents US$190 million in medical expenditures globally. Our system helps each individual to be more effective.

Q: How interested is the corporate world in investing in tools such as Habits.ai?

A: Companies have realized that healthier people are more productive. We are developing what we call the Corporate Energy Index, which relates health to the amount of energy a person can provide. This is measured through wearables that register how you are actually feeling on that day. The index helps predict people’s productivity. This is logical because work is not based on time but on energy. You can stay in front of a computer for eight hours and do nothing. When you are focused, you are more productive. Companies are really interested not only in saving on healthcare costs, but also having greater opportunity costs. NOM-035 is also pushing companies to promote an environment of well-being.

Q: What have been some success factors for Habits.ai in Mexico?

A: After three months, we have had a 75 percent level of engagement among users. There has been a 65 percent increase in physical activity in terms of steps, movement and other registered variables. Also, our users have enjoyed a 2 percent weight reduction, which we expect to increase. In addition, we have had a 13 percent increase in life satisfaction. This is the ultimate variable that indicates corporate engagement, productivity and resilience, among other KPIs that are part of the Corporate Energy Index.

 

 

Habits.ai is a health-talent management tool focused on increasing productivity through evidence-based behavioral change. Habits.ai is part of Singularity’s Global Startup and the Mexico chapter of TransTech Social Enterprises

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst