Lore Health raises $80M, launches social network using AI to cure loneliness

Steven Loeb · May 9, 2024 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/5887

LoreBot asks questions and provides encouragement, while users it with provide answers

There's a loneliness epidemic in America, one that started before COVID but was made worse by the isolation brought on by the pandemic: a Harvard survey conducted in 2020 found that 61% of adults from 18 to 25 reported feeling serious loneliness, while data from the University of Michigan's National Poll on Healthy Aging showed loneliness among those aged 50 to 80 increased from 27% in October 2018 to 56% in June 2020.

This has implications for both physical and mental health, as social isolation and loneliness have been linked to an increased risk for several common chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, as well as mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidality.

"It is no secret that people are increasingly socially isolated – this phenomenon started pre-pandemic and accelerated during the pandemic for people of all ages, but especially for older adults. In turn, isolation can lead to loneliness, despair, and depression, which can create an environment, for many, that is not supportive of healthy lifestyle behaviors – mindless eating, more sedentary time, rumination, and excessive worry," said Dr. Liz Joy, Chief Medical Officer at Lore Health, a company that uses AI technology, paired with a social network, to create a positive, supportive, non-judgemental community where people can connect with like minded people.

Lore Health, which officially launched on Thursday, along with an $80 million round of funding from Polaris Ventures, helps combat isolation and loneliness with community and its LoreBot, which is available 24/7 to provide encouraging words.

The company has also developed a unique generative AI large language model that, like ChatGPT, understands and uses human language. A key feature of this tool is “reverse prompting," in which LoreBot asks questions and provides encouragement, and the Lore user provides the answers.

The company provides an outlet for users to find support and suggestions about concerns over such problems as their job, relationships, health, and other issues that can result in stress. Users share how they have overcome challenges on topics that include social pressures, loneliness, work and sleep, while they interact with the AI bot that asks them personalized questions designed to help achieve their desired outcomes.

Here is an example of a typical community post:

The chat symbol with 11 next to it indicates that 11 people in the community commented on this post; Lore has posts in the community that have garnered in excess of 100 comments to a single post. Using network analytics, the company can also determine who is reading, commenting, forwarding, and favoriting posts.

"It is remarkable how ideas can spread throughout a community to influence others ultimately resulting in new social norms," said Joy.

"AI allows us to summarize the experiential learning of Lore users to share with others in the Lore community. Additionally, AI allows us to personalize the Lore experience, especially regarding their interactions with LoreBot. And using AI, we have trained LoreBot to be kind and considerate, and to encourage reflection, in hopes of helping people gain insight and sustain their change efforts."

The company has protections in place to account for potentially harmful posts; for example, Lore has integrated both a software and manual process, meaning a review by physicians, to detect and manage content that includes misinformation, harmful information, and unverified claims; or if its detect danger to self, such as self-harm or suicidality. Additionally, LoreBot has been instructed to not give medical advice, whether its correct or incorrect, so, misinformation or disinformation is not repeated to others in the Lore community.

"Posts and comments can be removed from the general circulation and shared with a few people in the community and from Lore, who can continue a conversation with that person, and ask questions to encourage new thinking and opinions on controversial topics. If we are able to achieve positive shifts in thought, posts can be reintroduced into the community; and if not posts and comments can be permanently deleted from the general circulation if it is deemed necessary," explained Joy.

There is no upfront charge for users to join Lore, and it's accessible through a number of health plans, health systems and employers. Currently, the company has nearly 13,000 patients in a Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO, 22% of whom have joined Lore, which is consistent with the percentage of people overall who have adopted telehealth. 

The typical Lore user is female, which Joy notes is consistent with studies that have found female sex to correlate with higher telemedicine use, with an average of around 70, given its Medicare ACO.

Under Lore’s business model, its customers are compensated based on the healthcare savings of its users; early results indicate a greater than 10% reduction in healthcare costs over 12 months for approximately 4,000 Lore users.

Lore Health plans to use its new funding, which brings its total raised to $100 million, to increase value creation for its users, specifically by advancing the product and its technological capabilities.

Ultimately, the idea behind Lore is to help change behavior through the use of artificial intelligence, Joy explained.

"People do not get well and stay well in the doctor’s office. And stealing a line from Dr. Howard Koh, they get well and stay well where they live, learn, work, play and pray – whatever that looks like for you. People spend more than 99% of their waking hours outside of healthcare. Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors – physical inactivity, poor diets, insufficient sleep, excessive stress, and risky substance use – underly most chronic disease. And behavior change is really hard!" she said.

"Lore seeks to provide a community, process and tools that allow people to learn, explore, experiment and share with one another what is hard, what they are trying, and how they are living healthier, happier lives. It is critical that we scale efforts like this given the overlapping epidemics of social isolation, obesity and chronic disease. Ultimately the yardstick is decreased incident disease, the reduced cost and suffering that comes with chronic disease, and happier, healthier humans."


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