Innovative Artificial Intelligence Program Tackles Chronic Pain
Kaia Health, a German based software company (with offices in New York City) which uses proprietary algorithms, many based on artificial intelligence programs, to help patients manage chronic pain, has just announced a new program called Premium Partners—which markets a suite of software based programs to U.S. employers and health plans to help patients relieve their chronic musculoskeletal (MSK: back, hip, knee, etc.) pain.
Kaia Health was founded in Germany by two software engineers to develop medial grade programs which help patients relieve their pain and limited functionality digitally, not pharmacologically. Since its founding, the company’s programs have been used by more than 450,000 patients, the vast majority of whom are in Europe. According to the company, these patient programs are research-based and combine digital therapy, personalized health coaching and collaboration with medical providers.
To build the market in the United States, Kaia Health has created the Kaia Gateway and Premium Partners digital musculoskeletal program. Based on their experience in Europe, the company expects to be able to provide U.S. based employers and health systems with “rigorous claims-based ROI [return on investment] for each client and support preventative, acute, chronic and presurgical care for total spine, hip, knee, shoulder, hand, wrist, foot, and ankle.”
So how does it work?
Kaia’s clinical algorithm screens patients and tailors the program for each patient. If it seems that more intensive treatment is necessary, the patient’s case is sent to a Kaia Health medical provider for review. An artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled escalation algorithm monitors patients over time for clinical and behavioral patterns, something that the company says will mitigate the risk of unnecessary elective surgery.
Integrating the Premium Partners Program
In the past, Kaia Health coaches have referred patients to other medical services within employers’ network. Kaia’s new Premium Partners program is linked to Kaia’s existing musculoskeletal treatment and will have the capability to access patients’ treatment history, including Motion Coach sessions and disease progression. The program will also provide digital interventions, disease management programs, physical therapy, telemedicine, care navigation, and expert medical opinion services.
When OTW asked what precipitated the development of this system, Justin Yang, M.D., M.P.H., U.S. chief medical officer at Kaia Health, said, “Kaia has had huge success with our musculoskeletal therapy app worldwide that uses state-of-the-art Motion Coach to aid and correct physical therapy exercises at home for acute and chronic back, hip and knee pain.”
“We have heard of a lot of people, both end users and clients, wanting a solution that's not just for the back and for all of the major joints in the body because of how well our Motion Coach and exercise regimens work. In order to create a total musculoskeletal solution, it's important for us to ensure we have an AI-based solution that can evaluate and triage high risk patients based on their presentation and for those needing extra care and follow up, or even second opinion consultations, we provide a ‘one-stop solution’ for the users.”
“We added in a medical review team that will evaluate high risk patients after they're being escalated from our AI algorithm-driven evaluation system. If needed, after review by the Kaia Gateway team, the user would be referred to our Premium Partner for further expert assessment and guidance, such as second opinion evaluation. Our new offering is evidence-based, supported by our recently published Rise-Up randomized control trial (RCT) study, the largest RCT ever conducted in this digital industry.”
“Kaia is currently a ‘total spine solution,’ meaning our AI-based program provides an at-home exercise solution for any pain related to the back. In the next few months, we will continue to develop our Motion Coach guided exercise regimen to include all joints and Kaia will become a ‘total musculoskeletal solution.’”
And how about the personalized coaching?
“We are confident that our Motion Coach provides the best posture tracking and correction service in the industry. We've published several studies demonstrating this and a recent study (in review) showed posture correction by our AI-based Motion Coach is just as good as human physical therapists.”
“At the same time, we realize that some users require a bit more motivation and human interaction to keep them on track to recovery. We have a team of certified Health Coaches who are available to engage with the users from the minute they sign up for the app by in-app text or phone call.”
“We also periodically monitor users' progress and our algorithm based escalation system allows our Health Coaches to proactively follow up with the users to ensure recovery. Kaia's musculoskeletal solution not only improves physical well-being, we have daily modules that improve mental well-being as well and our Rise-Up study demonstrated significant reduction in stress, anxiety and depression with our app. Our Health Coaches are also there for the users for any secondary mental or physical health related issues due to the underlying musculoskeletal condition.”