Digital MSK Hybrid Coaching Model

Kaia Health’s hybrid coaching approach blends automated technology with human coaching to maximize therapeutic effectiveness, user experience and engagement while reducing medical spend and removing barriers to exercise.

5 min read
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Transforming the treatment of chronic pain

Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are transforming the treatment of chronic pain conditions, and the Kaia Health Pain Management app is transforming the DTx landscape with a unique combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and the support and human touch of a personal coach.

Already the global leader in mobile motion capture technology for physical exercise correction, the Kaia Health team has succeeded in blending the best of computer technology and human expertise to deliver a highly effective, fully integrated, digital musculoskeletal (MSK) hybrid coaching experience. Health plans, employers, and their populations now have access to a digital chronic pain platform that meets the needs of each individual while improving health outcomes at the population level. The hybrid model also enables a lowering of the overall cost of care.

A human-machine cognitive partnership

The concept of merging machine capabilities with human intelligence dates back to the mid-1990’s with the defeat of world chess champion Gary Kasparov by IBM’s Deep Blue computer. While some feared it was the beginning of computers “taking over” from humans, this seminal event is now viewed as the genesis of artificial intelligence and as an event that led to the concept of human-machine cognitive partnerships.

“Humans are great at making intuitive and creative decisions based on knowledge while computers are good at sifting through large amounts of data to produce information that will feed into human knowledge and decision making.”

The Conversation, February 2018

At Kaia, on-demand, live human coaching is integrated with our patented, AI-based Motion Coach™ to maximize the therapeutic effectiveness and scalability of the product, thus furthering the human-machine partnership. This also ensures convenience and a user experience that works more efficiently for individuals who experience chronic pain.

At Kaia Health, live coaching is an outward expression of our more comprehensive DTx solution: a hybrid digital-human MSK therapy that enhances quality of care, improves outcomes, and reduces healthcare spend. Motion Coach™ delivers the exercise capabilities of a digital physical therapist interaction, and our health coaches provide a human connection, a single point-of-contact, and are able to refer users to licensed physicians or physical therapists as needed.

The pillars of Kaia's coaching philosophy artificial intelligence and human intelligence.
The Two Pillars of Kaia Health's Coaching Philosophy

Customization and personalization

At the heart of the Kaia Health MSK coaching experience is digital therapy customization and personalization.

Therapy customization is made possible by Kaia Health’s proprietary algorithms that encode the expertise of physical therapists, physicians, and psychologists, as well as data from thousands of patients worldwide. Our AI-based Motion Coach™ is built upon these algorithms, while user profiles captured during enrollment help to further customize a therapy plan to each user according to that user’s unique health status.

Once the digital MSK therapy program begins, our fully automated Motion Coach™ uses the front camera of a smartphone or tablet for real-time analysis of the user’s movement patterns and technique, responding with instantaneous correction feedback. With no additional hardware or external sensors required, Motion Coach™ evaluates posture, builds confidence, and corrects exercise execution as needed for the most impactful results.

Therapy personalization is created for each user through sessions with our Kaia Health coaching team. Using Intrinsic Methodology, Kaia Health coaches incorporate users’ personal preferences, abilities, motivations, and values, as well as circumstances such as time limitations, schedules, etc., to optimize training adherence and drive engagement through achievable goal creation to create automaticity within the Kaia app.

“From a product development standpoint, hybrid therapy is not the easiest route, but it’s the most effective...because we see the tangible benefits of AI in enriching and complementing human intelligence and interaction.”

Mark Bilandzic, Kaia Health Head of User Experience & Product Manager, AI-Lab

In addition to the background information of each user learned during a coaching session, Kaia Health coaches also leverage data collected by computer vision and digital biomarkers, such as flexibility, range of motion, and other movement patterns, along with in-app activity, pain level, and sleep quality tracking, to monitor where each user stands throughout the therapy journey. This allows the Kaia Health Pain Management hybrid coaching model to meet the user where they are. These digital metrics integrate with our multimodal, evidence-based interventions to help deliver a pain management app that’s been proven twice as effective as standard-of-care treatments.

“Our hybrid coaching approach brings together the most advanced artificial intelligence capabilities paired with expert human guidance for an MSK digital therapy solution that’s unmatched in the industry.”

Konstantin Mehl, Kaia Health co-founder and CEO

The Kaia Health hybrid coaching model doesn’t simply “combine” digital and human coaching, our process ensures true integration, where digital coaching data are constantly measured, tracked, and included in our ongoing DTx, guided and managed by a human coach with direct patient contact.

Motion Coach™

  • Ensures high quality of movement and correct execution of exercises
  • Provides intra-workout motivation and accountability
  • Gathers and delivers biomarkers to assess functional mobility and adjust workouts

Human coaches

  • Use data compiled during intake assessments as well as ongoing progress metrics, such as kinesiophobia levels, to meet each user where they are
  • Provide weekly proactive outreach customized to user activity to strengthen the coaching relationship and provide continuous motivation
  • Employ the proven intrinsic methodology that motivates by building on the assets or strengths of a person instead of focusing on an individual’s mistakes and weaknesses

“We are further customizing and personalizing technology to each user’s life and values in a way that creates a habit focused on a long-term goal. It keeps them engaged, which ultimately improves their health.”

Kaia Health Senior Health Coach Sara Espina, MS, CN, CIC®

Gold-standard MSK digital therapeutic

Using the combined power of AI technology and human coaching, the Kaia Health MSK Pain Management app can be integrated with existing wellness benefits to deliver the gold standard in digital therapeutics for chronic pain.

As the move toward evidence-based, integrated, and scalable DTx solutions reshapes the healthcare landscape, Kaia Health is empowering the MSK health field with a truly integrated hybrid coaching experience while expanding our offerings into COPD and hip and knee pain.

To learn more about how we can help your organization minimize the impact of chronic musculoskeletal pain on physical and mental health and ensure the safety, success, and well-being of employees, schedule a brief intro call or demo with our team.

Further Reading