Sneak Peek: HxRefactored

By Welltok Marketing

IBM Watson and Welltok are partnering together to apply cognitive computing technologies to consumer health. This year at HxRefactored, attendees will learn how IBM Watson processes large volumes of data to intelligently provide individualized action plans and continuously learns and refines solutions.

We sat down with Welltok CTO, Vance Allen to get his thoughts on the upcoming event and his mission and vision as Welltok’s leading tech maestro.

What is your burning mission in health and why?

VANCE: Most people would say cure cancer or get pediatric asthma under control. Those are all extremely important and noble causes, but we are going even broader at Welltok. Our goal is to get everyone to be as healthy as they can be. We are setting out to transform the health industry from a “sickcare" system, to one that supports the 85% of consumers who make daily choice that impact their health. We’re pioneering health optimization by guiding and incentivizing consumers to achieve their optimal health status. The fact that healthy individuals = higher healthcare value is an equation that we can all appreciate.

What is your patient story?

VANCE: Have you met Evan? He’s the very first ‘user’ of CaféWell Concierge and is on on the road to reach his optimal health.

He is a 26 year-old single male, insured with Acme PPO plan, who lives in the zip code 11231-4710 but is currently at 23 St. and 5th Ave., NYC. His health interests include running, hiking, and biking; he is currently at 75 minutes of 120 minutes of his goal activity for the week. He has a recent tendency to be active outside, and has been discussing men’s health issues. He asks CaféWell Concierge on his smartphone, “what should I do?”

CaféWell Concierge responds: “You could go for a run in Central Park, bring your Fitbit Pebble and you’ll be closer to earning $50 from Acme Healthcare. Why don’t you invite RunnerDude100?”

Using Evans health history, goals, contacts and location, CaféWell Concierge is able to give him a personalized recommendation tailored to him. It also learns and evolves as Evan motivations, health status or goals change.

Have you or someone you know been a patient? What was the experience like?

VANCE: Yes and it’s overwhelming. No one likes being in the hospital or the doctor’s office. Most people don’t know what’s in the IV bag being piped into them, are getting XYZ medications and spend more time talking to the exam room posters than to their physician. And of course we only go when our health is compromised and we are willing to do anything to get back to a health state fast – not the most effective time to make life-altering decisions.

This is one of the million reasons I’m passionate about keeping people out of “patient” mode as long as possible. #optimizedhealth (read: hashtag optimized health). I choose to not be a patient as much as I can help it, thanks.

What new health-related website, app, or technology do you think will improve health?

VANCE: Thank you for the set-up. What Welltok is doing with the IBM Watson technology is transformative. It will be a quantum leap to personalized health and wellness technology. With CaféWell Concierge powered by IBM Watson, consumers will be able to get answers to health questions in natural language like "What can I do today to improve my health?" Simple, personalized and effective.

The Watson-powered CaféWell Concierge also lets you balance multiple goals, rather than just one at a time. It can take a series of individual health itineraries or goal and tells you the most effective and productive way to accomplish all those things. It’s seriously “a health concierge in your back pocket.” (Thanks ABC News)

Why should people come to your session?

VANCE: It’s like an 8th grade science class; you’ll get to see the inner-workings of the IBM Watson “brain”. You’ll hear about IBM Watson’s ability to uncover insights from big data, by understanding the complexities of human language, reading millions of pages in seconds and learning to improve its own performance. For example with CaféWell Concierge, Watson will learn which health programs or rewards are most successful in helping consumers reach health goals, and refine recommendations accordingly. You know you want to learn how about the computer that outsmarted Jeopardy! C’mon.

Vance Allen will join IBM Watson Ecosystem’s CTO, Sridhar Sudarsan for the keynote session: IBM Watson from Jeopardy Winner to Personal Health Concierge at the 2014 HxRefactored conference in Brooklyn, NY on Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 2:30pm EST.