Business of Well-being

Can Artificial Intelligence Provide a Human Touch?


With DayTwo, the answer is yes. What role can an algorithm play in giving you advice about your health? Can a computer program play the part of a diabetes coach? DayTwo's precision health solution was recently featured in a New York Times article exploring the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the growing world of personalized nutrition.

In the article, author Sandeep Ravindran notes that a host of apps are offering AI-based nutrition solutions. "Instead of a traditional diet, which often has a set list of 'good' and 'bad' foods," he writes, "these programs are more like personal assistants that help someone quickly make healthy food choices. They are based on research showing that bodies each react differently to the same foods, and the healthiest choices are likely to be unique to each individual."

What does this personal AI assistance look like exactly? At DayTwo, our registered (human) dietitians are using the information provided by AI (developed with the world's largest microbiome dataset) to empower people to make better decisions about which foods or food combinations will lead to fewer spikes in blood sugar. The algorithm behind the DayTwo app uses microbiome profiling to predict how each person's blood sugar will respond to certain foods. Instead of another one-size-fits-all fad diet, the personalization based on an individual's microbiome enables customized food recommendations.

A Human Touch

DayTwo's AI empowers employees with knowledge about their own bodies by allowing them to tap into a vast dataset that is uniquely theirs. It's almost like having a dietitian in your pocket. The app is there when the dietitian is not and helps you know how any food combination will make your blood sugar respond.

As advanced as technology gets, anyone who works in HR knows: A human touch is still important. AI is not an accountability partner. While machine learning can provide excellent insights into how foods uniquely impact an employee's blood sugar, it's the dietitian that goes the extra mile to provide personalized guidance regarding food choices, even making it culturally relevant. For example, let's say an employee has family in town and wants to make her famous lasagna with her grandkids. On other strict diets, making lasagna might feel like she was "falling off the wagon." A dietitian can show her how to tweak the menu in a doable way.

Personalized nutrition recommendations from AI algorithms and the personal connection of a nutritionist empower the person with the tools they need to make lasting behavioral changes– which is, of course, the struggle of any benefits program. At DayTwo, the AI combined with dietitian support equips members with the tools they need to be their own masters and creatively problem-solve their way through dinner at a restaurant.

What is AI anyway?

AI utilizes computer science to sift through enormous datasets to solve a problem. AI algorithms make predictions or classifications based on input data. DayTwo's personalized nutrition algorithm takes into account an individual's unique microbiome analysis, food choices, and glucose levels, among many other anthropometric details. The algorithm then makes predictions about how each food or combination of foods will affect blood sugar levels. At present, AI algorithms may not be able to take into account everything that might be affecting blood sugar, including behavioral biases that can affect food choices. However, DayTwo is at the forefront of developing one of the most complex machine learning algorithms, using the world's largest microbiome dataset of  80,000 members. We are conducting groundbreaking research to help the algorithm continually refine its accuracy.

A Partner in Health

"It's not necessarily a matter of willpower," says dietitian Helen Yuan. "It's absolutely necessary for our members to have a human connection and understand that someone is listening and knows where you're at in life. It's knowing that your dietitian believes in you and will stick with you as a partner to support little changes that add up to big progress." This was certainly true for Patrick Wisniewski from Saginaw, Michigan. His A1C, an average of blood sugar measurements over three months, dropped from 11 to 6.2, and he lost 20 pounds. "My dietitian was instrumental in my journey through DayTwo," he says. "She was able to listen to my frustrations if I had any, but there was always an encouraging word. And I'll be forever grateful." To find out how DayTwo's precision health program can help your employees feel and work better, visit:

You can catch DayTwo at this year's Healthcare Revolution conference, where they are a Platinum sponsor! Healthcare Revolution is the nation's leading event for self-funded employer benefits, healthcare, and well-being. It is virtual, free to attend, and offers three days of pressing debates, revolutionary keynotes, and thought-provoking panels featuring executive speakers from organizations, including Linde, Prudential Financial, Lockton Companies, MarineMax, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Health Transformation Alliance (HTA), E. & J. Gallo Winery, Fifth Third Bank, and more. The event is on April 26-28, so register today not to miss out.

This article is based on the following article on DayTwo's website.

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