Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes
Editor's note: This is part of a series on the rise of artificial intelligence technology tools such as ChatGPT, the opportunities and risks they present, and the impacts they could have on various aspects of our daily lives.
LEHI - Adam Sharp is on a mission to help people take charge of their own mental health using artificial intelligence.
After spending years working in healthcare as an emergency physician and health services researcher, Sharp was ready to take a leap and branch out from traditional healthcare systems.
In 2021, Sharp founded Lehi-based Galvan along with other medical professionals and blockchain experts. Galvan is essentially a company that brings together ideas from healthcare and technology with the goal of "democratizing" healthcare and helping people make healthy decisions, Sharp said.
Since then, Galvan's work has led the company to launch the Galvan: AI Wellness app last month. The app inspires users to be active and make healthy decisions using blockchain technology and syncs fitness data from Apple Watch, Fitbit or Android Watch.
Blockchain is a distributed database or ledger shared between nodes in a computer network - software that people can download to their computers. The technology is best known for its role in cryptocurrency systems, where it maintains a secure, decentralized record of transactions, according to Investopedia.
"We are able to confirm with your wearable device (smart device) that you were able to enter your heart rate in the exercise heart rate settings. And if you do that, then we calculate it, we count it, we give you points and then we give you a digital currency which is our IZE points," Sharp said.
While it's not entirely unique — there are a handful of fitness apps out there that encourage physical fitness through digital currency — it's Galvan's use of AI that's really new.
The app uses AI to measure mental health conditions through a person's voice biomarkers. Using a 20-second voice recording, the algorithm processes millions of data points in a person's speech and returns results indicating their stress level, mood and energy.
“We are not healthcare providers; we do not make medical diagnoses, but what we are able to do is use the same tools that a doctor uses in a clinical encounter. .. then they assess you and find out if you're not anxious or mildly anxious, moderately anxious or severely anxious," Sharp said. "It can do it in 20 seconds."
The voice analysis algorithm Galvan uses to determine voice biomarkers was developed through a partnership with Canary Speech, the voice AI team behind Amazon's Alexa.
Sharp said there are more than 2,500 biomarkers in a person's voice and that the AI developed by Canary and used by Galvan was "language agnostic".
"It's not listening to the words. It's listening to everything from pauses to inflection to strength, you know, the gap between words and 2,500 other things," Sharp said.
Another innovative aspect of this, Sharp said, is that users will be able to use the app to rate their mental health right now through real-time feedback as well as tracking it over time to show trends at longer term.
“For the first time ever, you can receive immediate mental health feedback and support from objective data, identify potential triggers for mental health issues, and also receive personalized recommendations for self-care and mental health practices. wellness," Galvan said in a statement.
It's not just physical activity that's encouraged either.
We're not replacing doctors, we're not replacing your hospital or your health care system, but what we do is try to empower you so you know how to use this better
– Adam Sharp, creator and CEO of Galvan
"If you just check in to find out how you're doing, to make sure your stress and mood are tolerable or not too bad, we'll reward you," Sharp said.
Galvan also comes with built-in security measures designed to protect user privacy and all data collected is anonymized and stored securely so sensitive information can remain private.
The app, which is free to download, is available in all major app stores. Although the app is free upfront, the version that lets users earn rewards and use AI costs $13.99 per month or an annual subscription of $99.99.
Additionally, joining the blockchain requires purchasing a node – priced at $25 for a “Lite” node and $4,100 for a “Smart” node.
Although Sharp takes an innovative approach to mental health and healthcare, it doesn't try to completely reinvent the wheel.
"We're not replacing doctors, we're not replacing your hospital or your healthcare system, but what we do is try to empower you so you know how to use it better," Sharp said.
He also has big ideas for the future of Galvan.
"We're hoping to have a marketplace where people can use this (digital currency) to buy things, for example, your medicine," Sharp said. "Whether it's over-the-counter or prescription drugs, you'll be able to use these digital rewards to purchase them."
Galvan is also looking to partner with gyms, which would allow users to use their digital currency to purchase gym memberships.
Currently, the app is only available to people 18 and older. Sharp said he hopes to change this in the future and include the ability to use the app within families, which has been frequently requested by parents in hopes of providing additional support for struggling children. with mental health issues.
After its first few weeks, Galvan has thousands of downloads and an average app rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars, according to a statement from Galvan.
"The release of Galvan is a significant step forward in the field of mental health and AI," said Sharp. "It has the potential to revolutionize the way wellness is monitored and managed, making it more accessible and convenient for individuals to take charge of their health."