In China, more than 500 million patients suffer from insomnia symptoms, more than 200 million of which are chronic – according to a 2016 report by the China Sleep Research Association. In other words, nearly every household in China has a lack of sleep.
Knowing that, a startup came up with a solution using artificial intelligence called “asleep“.
Zhengan Keji’s digital therapy, or DTx, will basically prescribe software to patients just like doctors prescribe it. Prescriptions can be made anywhere, anytime, and their therapies are relatively cheap – at least according to what the company is committed to.
Insomnia has become a painful problem in China, but it wasn’t until recently that medical solutions began to become popular, and across the country, the number of sleep experts and the cures for various groups of patients are also in need.
Therefore, many insomnia patients in China ignore their condition, or seek help from doctors who have no sleep expertise.
Insomnia can cause significant psychological and physical damage. It makes us more prone to anxiety, depression, chronic illnesses or other illnesses. It also affects the daily lives of patients.
Current insomnia solutions on the market include the use of latex pillows, the consumption of nutritious foods, the use of smart devices and sleep monitoring applications.
“Asleep” solution of Zhengan Keji application “Cognitive behavioral therapy – Insomnia“(abbreviated to CBT-I).
Through software, this digital therapy seeks to intervene and correct the cognitive, behavioral, and psychological conditions associated with the patient’s chronic insomnia, thereby regulating their sleep rhythm. This system allows patients to go to sleep smoothly without the use of sleeping medications.
Non-pharmacological therapies are currently common in specialized hospitals, but patients will have to visit the clinic every week and pay a fee of up to 1,000 Yuan (about US $ 143) per visit.
The “asleep” solution is basically creating online sleep clinics. The AI therapist, on behalf of the doctors, diagnoses insomnia patients via the internet and offers a comprehensive customized solution based on a unique set of individual characteristics.
The AI therapist will familiarize each patient with the help of a chatbot, then assess their condition. In the course of the following stages, it will also adjust the treatment plan – a combination of restrictions that need to be exercised during sleep, stimulation control methods, cognitive therapy, relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene instruction, and other issues.
Patients will receive online instruction 15 minutes a day, with no time limit or location. The total cost for the treatment is 499 yuan, much cheaper than traditional therapies. A beta test version of the app has been released, and users can receive free treatments during the trial period.
In a clinical trial conducted in March, 85% of subjects showed remarkable results after about 2 weeks of “asleep”. On average, these patients have reduced the time needed to fall asleep to only 30 minutes compared to 60 minutes ago.
The company plans to conduct a new clinical trial with China Sleep Research at Peking University.
Zhengan Keji claims to be a digital health company. They are currently awaiting approval from China’s National Health Products Administration.
U.S. medical technology startup Pear Therapeutics’s Somryst in March became the first digital therapy app aimed at insomnia patients licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, thereby opening a new the trend for China’s health industry to learn.
“We apply the business – business – consumer and business – consumer models“- Founder Liu Xiaogang of Zhengan Keji said.”We target people with insomnia, including pregnant women, who are more likely to suffer from insomnia; women who are breastfeeding, 70% of whom report insomnia; and people who are on a diet, who are more likely to suffer from insomnia“.
“Because the quality of sleep is linked to conditions like obesity, coronary heart disease, diabetes, stress and depression, the need for treatment in people with these diseases is enormous.“Liu said.”With digital therapy, we want to find potential partner companies to focus on those areas and come to profit sharing arrangements with them.“.
Zhengan Keji is also seeking to attract retail customers through promotions on popular messaging apps like WeChat and Weibo, video sharing apps like Douyin and Kuaishou, Zhihu Q&A website as well. SEO solutions to improve the rank of a website in the list of search results.
Many of the company’s customers are regular customers who return to buy more sleep-enabled software and hardware. After reaching a sufficient number of users, the company intends to consider providing more data services.
Liu has 16 years of experience as a design manager for technology products. He used to work for internet giants Tencent Holdings and Kingsoft Cloud, a division of Xiaomi smartphone manufacturer. At Xiaomi’s wearable technology company Huami, he once opened a medical health division and also worked as a software developer for Xiaomi’s smart bracelets.
Liu has become an expert in collecting and analyzing user medical data through hardware, and through taking advantage of medical and physician related resources.
Zhengan Keji is currently continuing to raise capital. They plan to pour cash into product development, obtain licenses from the National Health Products Administration, medical research and product management.