How mabu the robot helps patients manage chronic illness

Catalia Health’s software incorporates expertise in psychology, AI, and medical treatment plans to help patients manage their chronic conditions. The result is a sophisticated robot companion that uses daily conversations to give patients tips, medication reminders, and information on their condition. Catalia Health Founder and CEO Cory Kidd will be speaking at the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum.

Robotics for change

Kidd was a student and faculty member at Georgia Tech before coming to MIT for his master’s degree in 2001. His work focused on addressing problems in healthcare caused by an aging population and an increase in the number of people managing chronic diseases. Many studies have found that communicating with someone in person, as opposed to over the phone or online, makes that person appear more trustworthy.

Catalia Health Founder and CEO Cory Kidd

As part of his Ph.D. in MIT Media Lab’s Media Arts and Sciences program, Kidd tested that finding in a randomized, controlled trial. A portion of the patients were given a robotic weight-loss coach to take home, while another group used a computer running the same software.

Cheaper computing enables better care

Since then, Kidd has watched the costs associated with robotics and computing plummet. In the summer of 2014, he founded Catalia Health to help patients with chronic conditions at scale. “The biggest challenge with the early studies was that, in the end, the patients didn’t want to give the robots back,” Kidd said.

Mabu makes friends

Catalia Health uses artificial intelligence to help Mabu learn about each patient through daily conversations. The conversations vary in length depending on the patient’s answers. For example, MabU would ask heart failure patients how they are feeling, if they have shortness of breath, and about their weight.

The Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development, and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics engineering Forum, and registration is now open.

Catalia Health works with partners for Mabu

Last year, Catalia Health announced a collaboration with the American Heart Association that has allowed Mabu to deliver the association’s guidelines for patients living with heart failure. Catalia also partners with healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. In each case, patients pay nothing out of pocket for their robot companions.

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