Sensely is a virtual nursing app that claims to be the future of healthcare. Find out more about Sensely today in our review.
What is Sensely?
Sensely, found online at Sense.ly, is a virtual healthcare engagement platform that recently raised $8 million in Series B funding.
The platform helps nurses and doctors provide more efficient medical care. The CEO of the company, Adam Odessky, described the platform a “A cross between WhatsApp and Siri that captures all the important signals about a person’s health”.
Medical organizations can use Sensely to provide better patient care after patients leave the facility. Patients can talk to the app (with no typing required) on a daily basis to “check in” with doctors and nurses. So instead of visiting the hospital for an unnecessary reason, they can get answers to their health questions as soon as possible.
Sensely also integrates with medical devices and wearables to provide greater insight into a patient’s health. Doctors and nurses can access all of this data without actually visiting the patient. Meanwhile, Sensely runs all the data through algorithms to assess the patient’s risk for everything from physical diseases to cognitive conditions like depression.
Sensely is also designed to be fun to use: patients interact with a virtual nurse called “Molly” in an environment that’s been described as similar to a video game. By making the platform fun to use, patients are more likely to stick with it.
How Does Sense.ly Work?
There are two sides to Sensely: the patient side and the health care provider side.
On the patient side, patients use Sensely to “check in” periodically. A check in takes less than 5 minutes and can be requested by the app once a day – or more, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
Patients simply talk to the Sensely app with no typing required.
All data shared through the Sensely app is rolled into a medical record. Only authorized health care professionals can review that record.
Here’s where Sensely gets extra powerful: Sense.ly can tap into data from a range of smart devices, wearables, and other health platforms. When doctors or nurses review the patient’s check-in data, they can also monitor data from these wearables. This gives them a better overall view of the patient beyond what the patient self-reported during the check-in.
Sense.ly doesn’t stop there: the platform also uses artificial intelligence (from platforms like Beyond Verbal, MindMeld, and Affectiva) to respond efficiently to a patient’s mood changes – not just their physical symptoms, physiological metrics, or behavior. The app’s AI will speak with patients in an empathetic way. The company specifically wants to avoid the “robotic” voice associated with other AI on the market – like Siri or Alexa.
Using emotional analysis, Sensely will alert caregivers when patients may need mental health counseling. The platform may detect, for example, if the patient is feeling depressed or anxious – say, after they’ve received a change to their medication or gone through a lifestyle change.
How does Sensely manage all this health data? How does it build connections between symptoms and the outcomes of those symptoms? TechCrunch explains that Sense.ly “has written its core, rule-based engine and algorithms around commonly accepted medical protocols for diagnosing and dealing with chronic diseases. The company is always layering in more protocols and content, usually from partner-hospitals and clinics, to expand to cover different health issues and populations.”
However, Sense.ly is aiming to expand rapidly by working with some of the largest health organizations in the world – including the UK’s healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS). Recent investors have also come from China, which opens the possibility of expanding to target China’s medical field.
Will Sensely Steal Jobs from Nurses?
One of the concerns about Sensely is that it’s another robot or software that’s stealing a job typically performed by a human.
In response to that concern, Sensely’s CEO Odessky says no:
“There aren’t people doing this job already. You couldn’t possibly have humans do this amount of phone calls and data analysis. This is a technology to help medical professionals do their job more effectively, and not one that threatens their livelihood”.
Some of the core features of the Sense.ly platform include:
- Avatar: Sensely has a nurse avatar called Molly that engages users “with her empathetic, supportive demeanor”. Molly was specifically designed to avoid the “uncanny valley” and “robotic voice” problem of other AI platforms, like Siri or Alexa.
- Telemedicine: Patients can use Sensely to interact with doctors in real-time using any internet-connected device, including a computer, TV, mobile phone, or tablet.
- Augmented Reality: Sensely creates “a video game-like environment” that makes it easy for patients to use. Key features of the video game-like environment include the nurse avatar and the speech/body recognition.
- Speech Recognition: Molly recognizes the patient’s voice, then transcribes their responses and records them for review by medical professionals. Patients never have to type or text anything into the system.
- Medical Device Integration: Sensely can integrate with wired and wireless medical devices.
- Data Analysis: Doctors and nurses can monitor patients to assess risk, triage, and coordinate, or just to monitor patient data over time.
- Body Recognition: Sensely will automatically identify patient’s extremities, then assess their movement patterns to gauge symptoms or conditions.
- Video: Patients can watch educational videos to learn how to become healthier.
- Customization: Doctors and nurses can setup care plans used to monitor patients, or to recommend different treatment strategies for those patients as they recover from illnesses or injuries.
Sensely is a San Francisco, California-based startup located at the following address:
229 Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
You can contact the company by email at [email protected].
Sensely has attracted a total of $11.5 million in funding to date, including recent investments from the Mayo Clinic, the Stanford StarX fund, and Bioved Ventures. The company plans to use the money “to expand AI capability, expand the number of disease programs and algorithms we support and investing to increase patient adoption at a mass scale”.
Stay tuned for more information about Sense.ly as the ambitious healthcare platform continues to expand.