In 2021 Innovation Sprint is putting additional emphasis on the development of virtual coaching. Based on our strong monitoring platform collecting Real-World Data - Healthentia, the company is now aiming to improve the engagement of its end-users and offer added value to support behavior change by providing lifestyle coaching on several domains, including physical activity, sleep, and diet.Adding virtual coaching services to the growing list of services will allow Innovation Sprint to enter the Digital Therapeutics (DTx) field.

This natural next step on integrating virtual coaching services into the Healthentia platform is celebrated by the recently established Virtual Coaching Lab, which will open its office in August 2021 at the vibrant and entrepreneurial campus of the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. The core activities of the Virtual Coaching Lab are as follows:

  • Designing and building personalized strategies to support individuals in reaching their desired behaviors and/or staying on track in their treatment plans using the Healthentia platform; 
  • Designing and building features to increase long-term engagement with the Healthentia mobile application; 
  • Integrating engaging conversational interactions with embodied virtual coaches; 
  • Combining the virtual coaching service with the AI and Machine learning services to provide meaningful information to the user regarding their everyday behaviors and health; 
  • Conducting research on the state-of-the-art on personalized coaching with embedded conversational agents. 

New members with expertise in virtual coaching in digital health applications have recently joined the team. Dr. Harm op den Akker, with a background in Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction, is the recently appointed Head of Virtual Coaching. Harm will coordinate the technological developments and integration of the virtual coaching services in the existing Healthentia platform. Based on his experience on the use of embodied conversational agents (ECAs) in digital health solutions (e.g., technical coordinator of the H2020 project Council of Coaches), Harm will lead the efforts on integrating ECAs into the Healthentia mobile application, building upon the WOOL Dialogue Platform. The second team member, Dr. Miriam Cabrita, brings in her expertise in Personalized Digital Health technologies and her focus lays on creating the content for the virtual coaching, as well as defining personalized strategies to most effectively support each user reaching their objectives. Moreover, the team counts with the support of the Advisory Member, Prof. Dr. Hermie Hermens, who is also a professor at the Biomedical Signals and Systems group at the University of Twente. 

Harm op den Akker

Harm op den Akker
Head of Virtual Coaching

Miriam Cabrita_2

Miriam Cabrita
Personalised Digital Health Specialist

Hermie Hermens

Prof. Dr. Hermie Hermens
CSO - eHealth

Innovation Sprint aims to broaden the team in the upcoming period by attracting talent to Enschede and to collaborate closely with the University of Twente and healthcare organizations in the Netherlands.