Feingold acquisition gives Sharecare voice analysis tech, path to AI tools

Sharecare‘s acquisition of Feingold Technologies gives the mobile health business a voice analysis tool to increase self awareness of emotions such as stress and depression. In the short term, it has developed an app for Android devices that will be accessible in a crowdsourced trial. But in the long term, the deal gives the company […]

Sharecare‘s acquisition of Feingold Technologies gives the mobile health business a voice analysis tool to increase self awareness of emotions such as stress and depression. In the short term, it has developed an app for Android devices that will be accessible in a crowdsourced trial. But in the long term, the deal gives the company led by TV personality and physician Dr. Mehmet Oz and co-founder and CEO Jeff Arnold access to a technology company with a deep AI background. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

As part of the deal, CEO Erik Feingold will become Chief Innovation Officer for Sharecare based at the company’s Atlanta headquarters.

In back to back announcements, Sharecare said Feingold would immediately change its name to Sharecare and that the combined business would initiate a crowdsourced pilot study led by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Georgia Tech.

It made the announcement at the Lake Nona Impact Forum, an invitation-only healthcare conference.

Arnold explained in the statement that it acquired the company as part of Sharecare’s strategy to create personal health profiles for people and to increase self awareness.

“As part of our strategy to create the comprehensive health profile for every consumer regardless of where they are on their health journey, it is critical we find new ways to help people be mindful of their health every day without disrupting their daily routine…With more mobile phones on the planet than people, we believe strongly that harnessing the power of the phone is critical to achieving this, and Feingold Technologies’ advanced voice and text analysis, correlated with data from various mobile sensors, introduces a whole new level of possibilities. We are excited to expand their suite of products, seamlessly integrate them into the Sharecare platform, and work together to play an even bigger role in helping people optimize their health and live happier, more fulfilling lives.”

The voice analysis app Sharecare developed with Feingold analyzes spectral data in the tone of the user’s voice when they speak on the phone. The company emphasized that it doesn’t record or analyze the content of a call.

After each call, the app shows users a visual representation of the intensity and stress detected during their call. The range is color coordinated from green for calm to an intense red for stress and several shades in between. It also gives a  brief description of the user’s mindset during the call. Users can view a dashboard showing how their results change over time. The idea is that by showing users the pattern of their emotion they will be inspired to make positive changes in their behavior to improve their emotional health.

A person familiar with the deal said that although the app is currently a consumer facing tool, there are a lot of potential applications for the technology that the company is considering. That could include using it to trigger interventions by payers or providers. Pharmaceutical companies would likely be interested in getting aggregated data on the emotional state of people taking their medication.

Among the organizations that will invite members of their communities to participate in the trial are Lake Nona in Orlando, Trinity Health and Univision.

As part of the trial, Georgia Tech and Gupta will examine the impact of providing people with real-time feedback on stress, behaviors and relationships based on voice analysis and see if it leas them to make changes in their lives that makes them happier. Sharecare plans to share findings from the study at the same invitation-only conference.

To get an idea of the capabilities of Feingold’s technology, check out this overview of its pitch to company sales teams dating back to 2013.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h8gTyT8Sc0