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Cigna Launches World’s First Voice-Activated Stress Test

Cigna International announces the launch of the Cigna StressWaves Test, a free online tool that analyses acoustic and semantic voice patterns to evaluate stress levels. The StressWaves Test was created in partnership with Ellipsis Health, a medical technology developer and leader in AI health and vocal biomarkers. The StressWaves Test will reveal the user’s stress level, ranging from ‘Extremely Stressed’ to ‘No Stress’, along with a portrait that visualizes the effect of stress on the user’s body and mind.

Cigna has worked with Ellipsis Health to deploy their unique and advanced AI technology to offer people the chance to assess stress through voice detection. The decision-support tool builds upon over 20 years of research and is based on training a dataset of over 15,000 adults aged from 18-80+, to ensure the algorithms are robust enough to cater for different populations with varying accents and levels of English-speaking ability. Cigna StressWaves Test is HIPAA and GDPR compliant.

Assess stress levels in 90 seconds

The Cigna StressWaves Test was developed with accessibility in mind. In addition to design considerations for age, sex, and education-level, the free online test is also interoperable with various systems and on any electronic device, as long as there is a microphone and internet connection. StressWaves Test is the only tool that analyses stress through acoustic (sounds, such as tone, pitch, pause, etc.) and semantic (word choices and syntax) patterns. Users are invited to answer open-ended, low-stigma questions for 90 seconds and are then provided with a visualization of their stress. The test will not retain the voice recordings once they have been used to produce the stress measurements.

Mental health the next global health pandemic

In 2018, it was predicted that the cost of mental health problems to the global economy could amount to US$16 trillion by 2030. The recent Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey, published in June, highlighted the growing importance of mental health as part of overall health and well-being. Additionally, the research found that 83% of people reported being stressed, with 13% experiencing unmanageable stress.

Dr Peter Mills, Associate Medical Director, Cigna in Europe, said: “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. If stress goes unchecked, we may see dramatic consequences and that’s why innovative health tools like the Cigna StressWaves Test are so important. 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.”

On the importance of this partnership, Dr Michael Aratow, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Ellipsis Health adds, “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.”

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