U.S. News

Sensei: Turn Your Phone Into a Health Partner


Are the Internet and your PDA or cell phone the future of health and wellness? A new company called Sensei thinks so.

Sensei provides Internet-based interactive tools to find out what customers like to eat, activities they enjoy and habits they want to break. Sensei then creates a personalized program and helps motivate customers along the way. The drag-and-drop Web site is important in the process, but the company uses mobile phones to make the "magic happen."

Using what customers told the company on the Web, Sensei puts a personalized program to work, sending advice and feedback throughout the day like any good Sensei would. CEO Dr. Robert Schwarzberg explains:

Is this the direction going forward for the health profession?
Consumers, or people in general, want a more personalized interaction, that is web what 2.0 is all about, its not just about giving them information, it's about having them participate in the content. There is a lot of this going on especially in the areas of wellness and health.

Any time you can provide a more tailored and interactive interaction between you and the consumer, that gives you an advantage.

Mobile and Web-based wellness solutions are what Web 2.0 is all about.

Where do you see the company heading? How do you want to expand?
We initiated the first program around weight loss because it is one of the largest public issues in the country and has been in the spotlight these last few years, but there is an inherent ability to cross mediums here and create an optimal interaction in many different areas of not just healthcare but also lifestyle. Some areas that we are looking to expand into include newborn care, smoking cessation, diabetes, stress management.

What kind of technology is behind this?
Right now we create the content and send the information, but in the future we are looking to use other third parties to provide the information and use our platform or our "secret sauce" as we say, to send that information out.
We would, however, need to find the content that has an audience where this would make sense (content where you need or want to have a dialogue with your audience).

Currently, the Sensei system works with AT&T & Sprint, and Verizon will be offered shortly. Messages are sent to customers as multi-media, not SMS text, including audio, moving image, color, etc.

"We wake up the application (one that has been downloaded to your phone) and bring the message to the screen and bring it to life."

After 15 minutes, the message comes off the screen but the message can be retrieved using the phone's applications.