Canadian Startup’s AI-Powered App Offers Health Advice to Teens
Toronto-based startup emojiHEALTH is a teen-focused spinoff of ConversationHealth, a company that develops chatbots for hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and medical organizations, and offers a messaging bot platform that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to advise teens about their health (via The Globe and Mail).
EmojiHealth released its chatbots last month, with the technology available on Facebook Messenger, messaging service Kik, and on free websites. The company has 10 different bots for topics such as epilepsy, diabetes, sexual health, depression, and dermatology.
Alexandra Philp-Reeves, the 19-year-old co-founder of ConversationHealth, said that a lot of health topics can be uncomfortable because they are so personal. “We can take away that human awkwardness by replacing the person with a bot” she added while highlighting that unlike a simple Google search, EmojiHealth’s content is pre-approved by doctors and written in a more accessible language.
Teens talk to a chatbot and the AI program allows it to understand what’s being said – no matter how a teen says it (“I feel depressed,” “I’m always sad,” “Wat to do when u feel depressed”). The bot provides curated information, (“It’s okay to feel depressed,” “Would you like tips to manage your depression?”) and, if the situation warrants, advice to seek medical attention or call Kids Help Phone.
Philp-Reeves, however, notes that EmojiHealth is programmed to identify certain high-risk language but is not capable of intervening. Instead, it suggests to users that they seek further medical or mental-health help while also flagging it for the EmojiHealth team.
More information can be found here.