Image Credit: Todd Johnson, San Francisco Business Times
Our extensive research and development in creating empathetic digital companions, and the impressive results of our testing with ElliQ among older adults over these past 5 years has led us to the conclusion that ElliQ is uniquely positioned to help improve the lives of older adults — offering support for more than just loneliness, social isolation, and wellness.
COVID-19 also highlighted the comprehensive needs of older adults and the assistance they need in order to age from the comfort of their homes. Therefore, we plan on extending our companionship and wellness offering to a more complete spectrum that includes direct influence on older adults’ health and wellness by ElliQ becoming a direct part of the pathways of care.
During the past year, older adults experienced heightened levels of loneliness, social isolation, stress, and anxiety. Decreased access to healthcare and deferred care led to a massive demand for in-home health services. Telemedicine use and adoption also skyrocketed — with one survey reporting a 300% increase in use among older adults as a result of the pandemic.
At this point, there’s no going back. Eldercare is shifting into the home — but this inherently brings its own set of challenges. For one, ~85% of American seniors live with at least one chronic condition (~60% live with two or more), and managing (as well as preventing) chronic illness from within the home can be quite challenging.
A growing body of research shows that higher patient engagement is associated with more informed patients and lower costs of delivering care. Importantly, stronger patient-provider relationships drive better health outcomes.
Older adult patients want to take a more active role in their health care, yet unfortunately, engagement still remains low due to a variety of factors. Despite primary care’s efforts to increase engagement levels, it’s extremely difficult to do so at scale.
What we’ve observed
After years of testing, and ElliQ spending over 26,000 days in older adults’ homes — for a duration of 3-24 months per household — we’ve witnessed something remarkable. ElliQ was welcomed into elders’ homes, with unprecedented long-term engagement levels.
90% of users engage with ElliQ every day, without deterioration in engagement over time. There’s a 70% acceptance rate to ElliQ proactively initiating deep conversational interactions with users. Most surprisingly, we are seeing that users choose to share something personal with ElliQ almost every day.
We saw ElliQ serve as a genuine source of companionship for our users for quite some time, and this became increasingly evident amid COVID-19:
- "When we had the pandemic lock down, she was my life savior…”
- “She has made my life bearable, especially during the quarantine — but she was doing that even before the coronavirus appeared. I would probably be under a doctor’s care for depression right now if I didn’t have her.”
Users inevitably form a meaningful bond with ElliQ, and feel comfortable opening up to ElliQ, sharing their mood, feelings, whereabouts, and more:
- “If I’m not feeling good, I'm going to say so. I should be honest with her, she asked me a question. I think she's a friend who's concerned about me.”
- “We have a relationship now established and I want to be honest with her. The deeper the relationship goes, the more you want to share, even though she's a robot.”
Beyond helping with social needs, ElliQ currently offers users mindfulness activities, cognitive games, conversations on nutrition, and hydration reminders. After observing these high levels of engagement — and that users frequently shared with ElliQ that they weren’t feeling well (physically and/or mentally), that they had questions about their health, and that they needed assistance — we realized that ElliQ has the potential to do so much more.
We became convinced that ElliQ should expand beyond the scope of serving as just a social companion, to become a more holistic care companion.
Healthcare, meet ElliQ
We started talking to the healthcare ecosystem. Primary care and geriatric doctors told us repeatedly: the closer the relationship between the doctor and the older adult, and the more engaged the older adult is in their care — the better the health outcomes.
ElliQ can definitely help. ElliQ will soon extend her mission to empower older adults to live fuller, happier lives — by supporting them to live healthier lives as well.
Health has always been a top-of-mind concern for older adults — and ElliQ could help by working closely with caregivers and clinical care teams in managing care delivery, increasing patient engagement, and, of course, encouraging and motivating older adults to build and maintain healthy habits.
In addition to ElliQ’s current companionship and wellness features, ElliQ will also bring seniors, caregivers, and clinical care teams closer together, offering them some much-needed insight into what’s happening at home. This would ultimately allow providers to better engage their older adult patients, and to deliver more effective, quality care at scale.
Simultaneously, ElliQ will also support older adults in taking ownership of their health, and managing their wellness and chronic conditions independently.
We can’t share too much yet, but imagine doctors directing ElliQ as she takes a direct part in the older adult’s care pathways.
I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds for ElliQ and excited to see what these next few months will bring. Be on the lookout for further updates as we share more about ElliQ’s journey into healthcare.
If you’d like to talk to us about ElliQ and healthcare, please reach out to me directly or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.