Cigna Europe has partnered with medical technology developer Ellipsis Health to launch a voice stress detector which can evaluate stress levels in just 90 seconds.
The technology, which is free to use for anyone, listens to the pitch, tone, word choice, and pauses in the user’s speech to give a measured reading of their current stress level.
Cigna said the technology would help people to monitor their mental health and understand when they may need medical support.
Dr Peter Mills, associate medical director at Cigna Europe, noted that when stress went unchecked it could produce dramatic consequences.
“Stress and mental health issues have been pushed up the agenda in recent years. While this increased awareness is a positive change, the pandemic has created many new pressures in our lives,” he said.
“By providing simple solutions at scale that are easy to use and accessible when the people need them most, we can encourage people to learn more about stress and seek professional help as appropriate.”
Dr Michael Aratow, co-founder and chief medical officer at Ellipsis Health, added: “The best medicine is prevention.
“We are proud to partner with Cigna to offer the StressWaves Test to the general public for free, so that we can help individuals around the world address their stress as early as possible to prevent it from progressing into more serious mental health issues.”
The free to use artifical intelligence (AI) software just requires a microphone and internet connection to be used and is based on a training dataset of more than 15,000 adults across all age ranges.
The firm said this meant the algorithms were robust enough to cater for different populations with varying accents and levels of English-speaking ability.
Users submit answers to open-ended, low-stigma questions for 90 seconds enabling an algorithm, coupled with health science, to then provide a visualisation using colour and movement of the individual’s stress (pictured) – from ‘extremely stressed’ to ‘no stress’.
The test does not retain the voice recordings once they have been used to produce the stress measurements, and is fully Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant.