At Lark, nutrition plays a crucial role in helping members manage or prevent chronic conditions. For Americans struggling with chronic conditions, hyper-personalized feedback on the nutrition for their specific condition(s) is essential for having a true impact on behavior change. And while there are over 100,000 registered dietitians & nutritionists in the U.S. helping chronic patients, it’s just not enough. So how do we scale one of the most effective and underutilized coaching strategies – nutrition coaching – in healthcare? With AI.
That’s why we’ve integrated our new Digital Nutrition Therapy™ technology into our existing chronic disease programs for Diabetes, Hypertension, and Pre-diabetes. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to provide immediate, personalized, and multidimensional feedback on the meals members love — while also making it easy to track what they eat. Utilizing cutting edge voice technology to allow members to speak naturally to Lark while adding a meal, Lark is able to capture significantly more and better data on nutrition habits. To do this, there are four key elements:
1) Lark’s Digital Nutrition Therapy™ delivers disease-specific nutrition counseling based on different care plans in real time.
If you think about food tracking in digital health today, it relies on remote live health coaches to review logged meals periodically and provide feedback days or weeks after the fact, if at all. Our Digital Nutrition Therapy™ generates awareness about healthy eating by providing clear and direct feedback on members’ food choices in the moment, focusing on food quality and expanding meal analysis to incorporate the specifics of their condition – for instance, most simply, noting foods contributing to blood sugar spikes in Diabetes or salty foods contributing to long term trends in Hypertension. Lark’s coaching provides immediacy to this critical data source – member food logging. Ultimately, nutrition drives many issues related to chronic conditions.
2) Going beyond the calorie-focused approach to nutrition
When it comes to diabetes management, food is the most important data input besides the glucometer, yet no other program makes it easy to track. Digital Nutrition Therapy™ is unique in that it allows members to enter foods by naturally describing them, either via text or voice, while using cutting edge AI and natural language processing to do the rest of the work. Voice-based data collection is critical in making the process easier for consumers, and we’ve found that by reducing barriers we collect more data on the hundreds of thousands of members using Lark. But a calorie is not simply a calorie, and if you treat it as such, members miss an opportunity to reflect on new behavioral learnings that show that emphasizing the quality of foods eaten over their calories leads to better, longer term health results. These results are shown in Lark’s proven reductions in HbA1c, blood pressure, body weight, and self efficacy.
Utilizing FDA guidance for serving sizes and the nutritional information for each food item allows Lark to estimate the food’s nutritional breakdown with striking accuracy. We leveraged our large user base and historical data to train NLP models which allow us to parse human generated meal descriptions into multiple food items, recognize portion sizes and food modifiers (e.g. – low fat), and ultimately associate meals with nutritional value and tie it to the members’ other data.
3) 12 dimensional analysis.
Lark, based on input from our medical advisory board comprised of the leading behavioral and nutrition experts from Harvard and Stanford, has broken down foods beyond the traditional calorie-focused, one dimensional approach to nutrition into a 12 dimensional analysis, then attached thousands of interventions to those outputs. This allows us to provide highly personalized interventions for each disease state, and each with the granularity and personal context of the individual struggling with a chronic condition.
4) Simple & effective feedback.
With Lark, members get real time, 24/7, personalized counseling on every meal they choose to discuss, a critical feature that all other digital health platforms completely miss. With no real-time, conversational feedback in place, other platforms don’t have the same impact on behavior day by day. This immediate feedback is key and can uniquely handle complex food conversations and distill them to provide timely, important disease specific counseling, thereby leading to reduced risks and greater health improvements for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, pre-diabetes, and more.
All of this leads to one thing — meeting people where they are to give them immediate feedback in their day-to-day lives — to better manage and prevent chronic conditions right now.