Our voice as a window to our health

Vocalis Health offers an ingenious approach that uses an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to tap into the voice as a vocal biomarker for providing the least costly and most efficient healthcare.

Vocalis Health (photo credit: Courtesy)
Vocalis Health
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If you were to look at the different types of media we consume on a daily basis, you would find three main categories. There is written content like blogs, articles and Facebook posts; there is video content like YouTube and Facebook video; and then there is a silent beast that is growing incredibly quickly for the past few years: Audio, podcasts, voice.
The popularity of voice and audio content makes me wonder what other applications there are out there for audio technology that we have yet to tap into.
One company, Vocalis Health, offers an ingenious approach that uses an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to tap into the voice as a vocal biomarker for providing the least costly and most efficient healthcare.
No, you did not make a mistake, you read that correctly. Vocalis Health uses a person’s voice to analyze their health. I will let you read that again and wrap your head around it.
Vocalis Health is the product of a recent merger between two early-stage Israeli health-tech companies: Beyond Verbal and Healthymize. The two companies joined forces in their shared pursuit of using the voice as a revolutionary tool in the health industry, with the ability to scale, be accessible and be passive.
Leading the newly formed company is Tal Wenderow, co-founder of Corindus Vascular Robotics, a health-tech company using robotics to provide remote surgery and precise medical treatment in stroke, coronary and vascular procedures (The company was just acquired by Siemens Healthineers for approximately $1.1 billion).
Alongside Wenderow is Dr. Shady Hassan, co-founder and CEO of Healthymize, who is now chief medical officer and COO of Vocalis Health. As a physician, Hassan was fully cognizant of the voice as a means to understanding a patient’s health condition. Hassan viewed the AI platform as a method for making the most accurate medical analysis.
Vocalis Health’s AI-based platform determines the status of a patient’s condition through vocal biomarkers for a variety of illnesses such as chronic respiratory and cardiac diseases, as well as behavioral health disorders such as depression. More importantly, the platform grants actionable data to healthcare providers, which helps them provide better care at a lower cost. The patient’s voice is first recorded by the platform’s software. Subsequently, the information is transmitted to the program’s cloud, and then the AI engine analyzes the voice for indications of the patient’s status.
THE PLATFORM allows the healthcare provider to assess the patient’s status, even remotely, bridging the gap between the patient and healthcare system. Call centers can use the platform to collect voice samples in order to triage, or more specifically, to prioritize the treatment of their patients according to each one’s level of urgency and severity. The platform allows for healthcare providers to also conduct more personalized and individualized monitoring of their patients on a daily basis.
A voice-monitoring solution prescribed by a physician allows the patient to record his or her voice on a daily basis. The program can detect any health episode that conveys a regression in the patient’s condition, such as shortness of breath. Vocalis Health’s app then automatically asks the patient a set of discovery questions to be answered for the healthcare provider to further assess the patient’s status.
Without any need to see a patient in person, the doctor and healthcare provider can detect from a dashboard, which contains all the data in real time, if a patient is at risk of his or her health deteriorating in order to allow the clinical team to administer care before the patient ends up being hospitalized.
Offering healthcare providers such insights into the conditions of patients, the AI platform presented by Vocalis Health essentially functions as a tool to prevent hospitalizations, which not only burden the healthcare system, but also take a mental, physical, financial and emotional toll on the patient.
The company has approximately 20 employees and there are offices in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Newton, Massachusetts. Vocalis Health has already demonstrated much promise and managed to bring on aMoon Partners, Israel’s largest health-tech and life-sciences fund, as investors. The fund has led an investment of $9 million into Vocalis Health, which will use the funds to not only build up the AI platform, but also to take it to market successfully.
Vocalis Health has already collected over one million recordings and millions of data points from 50,000 patients suffering from cardiac or respiratory illnesses as well as depression. The data was gathered via studies conducted with leading healthcare systems such as Maccabi, Mayo Clinic and Geisinger.
Looking toward the future, Vocalis Health aspires to not only help patients suffering from chronic illnesses but to continue to expand its range of biomarkers and to cover a broad spectrum of illnesses.
The words artificial intelligence might scare some people, but when a technology can take our voice and use it to enhance our lives or even save lives, well, the good clearly outweighs the bad.