Hackensack Meridian Health Invests in Canary Speech, Company with AI Software to Assess Anxiety, Wellness in Spoken Words
June 14, 2023
Hackensack Meridian Health and its Bear’s Den program invest in company to help detect potential health problems hinted in speech patterns
Hackensack Meridian Health and its Bear’s Den innovation accelerator program are making a strategic investment in Canary Speech, a company that uncovers valuable insights to disease and well-being encoded in human speech.
Canary’s patented technology monitors a variety of health factors in a fast, non-invasive, and accurate way: by assessing “digital biomarkers” in the human voice to explain or predict energy levels, and health-related outcomes. The technology tracks the presence and severity of a variety of targeted diseases, such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. The resulting Vocal Scores can replace subjective measurements with objective, actionable care solutions.
“This is a fascinating innovation, and we’re eager to support a promising way to leverage technology for wellness,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Artificial intelligence is impacting every aspect of modern life, and our health network wants to help accelerate the efforts of companies like Canary Speech.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Hackensack Meridian Health, and welcome their support,” said Henry O’Connell, Canary Speech chief executive officer and co-founder.
Canary Speech's patented speech analysis technology provides clinical-grade screening for mood states and disease using proprietary machine-learning modeling.
The human voice inherently reveals both emotional and physiological states. Canary’s technology unlocks voice as a vital sign unto itself, modeling both acoustic and linguistic features to measure stress, mood, and energy within the patterns, inflections, and timing of those words.
Developed by the neurology and speech AI team behind Amazon Alexa, Canary Speech powers first-of-its-kind insight into the full applications of vocal biomarkers in healthcare.
Aimed at providing proactive screening in real-time, Canary’s algorithms are built to augment standardized clinical assessments like GAD7 (for anxiety) and PHQ8 (for depression). The company provides clinical-grade screening to detect changing emotional wellness states and mental-health deterioration in real-time.
Beyond anxiety, stress, energy, and mental health status, Canary Speech is also researching the assessment of a series of other afflictions through the voice, including: Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, and others.
“Investment of this kind is a smart strategic move, with an eye toward the future,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, Hackensack Meridian Health’s president of Academics, Research and Innovation, founding chair of the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute.
Launched in 2017, the Bear’s Den features a panel of experts, including Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Garrett, leading physicians, key network executives, venture capitalists, patent attorneys, who gather regularly to vet proposals from entrepreneurs. The health network’s novel incubator has vetted many products and strategies to streamline care delivery, reduce infections, lower hospital readmissions and help patients partner in their care with physicians. The program has also invested in promising innovative companies, like Canary Speech.