First things first, the staggering casualties: Last year, of the Americans who died, 7 out of every 10 died with chronic lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. These diseases cost the US healthcare system $1 trillion dollars a year to manage or prevent. That’s 84% of all of US healthcare costs - more than Argentina’s GDP.
Diabetes and obesity can be prevented and managed by eating healthier, getting more active, and stressing less. Obesity is killing us, but the war against obesity is being unfairly fought. There are not enough soldiers.
We currently have 1 doctor to take care of every 355 Americans. This means one day a year, we get diagnoses and progress reports, and advice on how we can live healthier. But for the rest of the year, who helps us ignore the candy aisle at Office Depot, or forego the elevator and walk up the stairs, or sleep instead of binge-watching Netflix because we’re stressed? We need someone who can follow us 24/7, provide us with constant feedback, teach us new strategies, and motivate us to live and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
How do we do the impossible and increase our army of health providers from 1 doctor for every 355 Americans to a personal doctor for each American, 24/7? These constraints require us to look beyond human capital.
Imagine a technology that can clone your favorite doctor — their advice, their warmth, their empathy — so they’re with you every single moment. They could tirelessly collect all of your health and fitness data, hear about a meal you had, and then chat with you about your nutrition choices immediately.
At Lark, we are using cutting edge artificial intelligence to mimic the best coaches and healthcare providers in the world so we can put them in your pocket. Lark Chat is an interactive, text-coaching app designed for positive behavior change around healthy eating, weight loss, and chronic disease prevention.
While doctors, coaches, parents, and peers will always be integral in shaping our behaviors, we found digital coaching fills some very significant voids in human interaction. Foremost, a digital coach is capable of caring at times when even the most caring, nurturing person in your life can’t. She is always available and texts back within two seconds, even at 1 AM on Saturday. She can focus on the daily, repetitive tasks, while our brilliant healthcare providers focus on the skilled and highly complex tasks that they were trained for.
At the same time, COVID-19 has made virtual care a necessity. After nearly a decade of product development, Lark is uniquely positioned for the post-COVID seismic shift in our society, as a result of our: 1) product innovation - focusing on virtual, mobile, scalable care, 2) business model innovation - partnering with health plans to provide no-cost healthcare to patients, creating massive scalability, and 3) unique differentiation in applying B2C consumer growth tactics and innovations to scalably serve a massive population.
We're excited by the ways AI will change the healthcare space, inspiring a shift from band-aids and one-time fixes to continuous care. Most importantly, it can connect us to our own daily choices, and empower us to take control of living better.