Soul Machines joins the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Access Initiative (AI) for Quitting Tobacco to help share WHO’s life-saving information during the COVID-19 pandemic, combat misinformation, reduce the risk of COVID-19 and help over one billion tobacco users quit.
Florence, the WHO’s first digital health worker, was created using Soul Machines technology and WHO technical guidance, with support from Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Florence will help provide clarity and expel damaging myths around COVID-19, and will specifically address smoking and its consequences - heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases - all of which are comorbidities with COVID-19. With Florence, smokers can engage with a digital health worker to develop a quit plan and rely on a trusted source anytime and anyplace, to help them feel confident to reach their quit goals. Initially available in English, Florence will, over time, be available in all six official UN languages.
Smokers are more exposed to the COVID-19 virus and are at greater risk of having severe disease complications. Although around 60% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally want to quit, only 30% of them have access to tools that can help them quit.
As a digital health worker for WHO, Florence will help give the increasing numbers of people globally who have a desire to quit smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic a new, safe, easily accessible and engaging channel. Florence is able to scale seamlessly and to talk to many individual people around the world and is available 24/7 with no wait times, as a simple video stream from the cloud to any device. This frees up critical people resources and provides a user-friendly solution to an overwhelming demand for clear, concise information that can be relied on. Florence will always be available when needed and ready to engage to give the user the confidence and support in that moment to help reach their quit tobacco goals.
“We are pleased to partner with the WHO to help reimagine the massive challenge of how to scale health communication in a high-trust way as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally,” said Soul Machines co-founder and chief business officer Greg Cross.
“The next-generation technology used by Florence will help the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users access the reliable information they need to quit tobacco - helping to protect them from a potentially severe case of COVID-19 and many other diseases,” said Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion, WHO.
Florence represents a reimagining of how technology and AI can serve as a robust and efficient health communications and engagement platform. Over time, AI for quitting tobacco will help millions of people improve their health and save lives. Soul Machines is committed to a continued exploration of this health mission on a global scale to help people take a more proactive role in their well-being and better and more easily manage their own health by engaging with trusted information.
Cross added, “We congratulate the WHO on leading the world in the application of AI in public health. Bold innovation is required to help close the gap in access to health care. Florence will play an essential role – she will share the WHO’s life-saving information to improve the health of people when services across the globe are under extreme pressure. We’d like to thank Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud for their support in enabling Florence to work at scale as WHO’s global digital health worker.”