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January 15, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Lirio announces partnership with Bon Secours Mercy Health, launch of new Behavioral Reinforcement Learning Lab

Two big announcements in the past week from Lirio LLC, the Knoxville-founded company that developed a behavior change artificial intelligence (AI) platform that moves people along their unique journey to better health through person-centered communication.

In what can only be described as a major development, Bon Secours Mercy Health and Lirio announced yesterday a new strategic partnership at the 38th annual “J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference” in San Francisco. The alliance includes a direct investment from Bon Secours Mercy Health in Lirio’s behavior change AI platform and the addition of John Starcher, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bon Secours Mercy Health, to Lirio’s Board of Directors.

Under the partnership, Lirio and Bon Secours Mercy Health will co-develop new behavior change programs that influence health decision-making for those at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. These programs will eventually be marketed and sold to other health systems globally under commercial terms agreed to by both parties.

Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the 20 largest health systems in the U.S. and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country, will also license and deploy existing Lirio behavior change programs such as those focused on women’s health and programs that encourage the use of digital engagement tools like patient portals.

“Bon Secours Mercy Health has a bold vision for extending care beyond the hospital into the community and addressing root causes of poor health,” said Mike West, Lirio’s Chairman and CEO. “We are excited to co-develop new behavior change programs that target at-risk populations proactively and preventatively in ways that both improve care quality and achieve operational efficiencies. By effectively utilizing large volumes of population health data, we can activate consumers by guiding them with personalized, data-driven health journeys.”

His excitement was echoed by Justin McGoldrick, Chief Clinical Research and Innovation Officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health. “Together with Lirio, Bon Secours Mercy Health is leveraging leading edge technology to continuously learn from our patients, families and community members, which will allow us to translate that learning into personalized health programs and communications that empower individuals to make healthy decisions and take healthy actions. This will be central to our health system’s enhanced ability to improve the overall health of the communities we serve.”

Yesterday’s announcement comes on the heels of and significantly complements one made last week when Lirio said it was launching a new research and development lab to develop behavior change AI solutions. The company also announced tech industry veteran John Seely Brown will be joining the lab as Scientific Advisor.

The Behavioral Reinforcement Learning Lab (BReLL), as the new effort is named, has a goal of re-shaping the current understanding of how behavior change and AI come together to address some of the most stubbornly persistent challenges in healthcare: patient engagement, care gaps, and improved health outcomes.

Brown has spent the bulk of his career focused on how an increasingly digital culture drives a need for continuous learning and adaptability. He is currently the independent Co-Chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, a Center pursuing research on institutional innovation and a reimagined work environment built on ubiquitous computing, the Internet of Things, intelligent automation/AI, and the need for constant learning and adaptability. Brown is also a visiting scholar and adviser to the Provost at the University of Southern California, where he facilitates collaboration between the Schools for Communication and Media and the Institute for Creative Technologies. Previously, he served was Chief Scientist at Xerox Corporation, Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and a member of Amazon’s Board of Directors for 14 years.

Long-time readers have followed the evolution of the initial concept and baseline technology at Lirio that was first developed when Patrick Hunt, Lirio’s Chief Evangelist, co-founded Fiveworx that was focused on the utility sector. While still serving the utility sector, Lirio is placing a major emphasis on healthcare.

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