Photo of Michael Kapps

Artificial intelligence & robotics

Michael Kapps

His chatbots improve access to healthcare where medical resources are scarce but smartphones abound

Year Honored

TNH Health

Latin America

Hails From

90% of Brazilians have a mobile phone. What many have little access to, is a quality primary care system. After spending a year in the country, Michael Kapps, a young man born in Russia, with Canadian citizenship, who had studied in the USA and collaborated with a health NGO in Ghana, noticed this paradox and found that no one in the country was innovating in this sector.

This is where he decided to quit his job as a consultant in Silicon Valley (USA) and move back to Brazil to invent TNH Health. Kapps’ solution was a chatbots service that improves the health care of the population through text messages. Thanks to this advancement, the young man has become one of the winners of the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018 from MIT Technology Review in Spanish.

Clinics, insurers, cities, and large companies, that are already clients of TNH Health, are responsible for registering their patients in the system. From there, they begin to receive messages through the channel they choose and artificial intelligence starts to learn and personalize their needs based on the responses they give to the bot. A natural language processing system based on IBM Watson allows them to discern what kind of help is needed and, if necessary, the system alerts a professional to attend to the patient in person. This approach avoids long waits in health care centers, especially for a wide variety of consultations that can be conducted remotely.

The use of artificial intelligence helps the scalability of the system, versus other telemedicine approaches based on call centers staffed by people. In the four years that the system has been operating, TNH Health monitors more than 200,000 people and has generated 150,000 alerts.

"In Brazil, everyone has a mobile phone and chats, but there are only two health professionals per 1,000 citizens," states Kapps. According to his estimates, a single nurse could serve 3,000 people through a chat with artificial intelligence. "Another advantage of using chatbots is that users do not need to download any application," says the young entrepreneur. In fact, he believes that most likely "they do not even know what TNH Health is."

The founder and CTO of SimMachines, Arnoldo Müller-Molina, Innovators Under 35 Central America 2014 winner and jury member of Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018, highlights that Kapps is "innovating in a very relevant area with a project that works."