The Eimhe app provides an AI assistant to help users with emotional intelligence and self-regulation, a marketplace to find relevant professionals and a peer-to-peer social network. DFFRNT performed user research, developed personas and scenarios, and guided the design of user interactions to refine this medtech innovation. The DFFRNT team also provided strategic direction, shifting the marketing focus from individuals to corporate clients, where it can be part of wellness programs.
After his own experience with mental health issues, Jeff Roc saw a need for a better solution for mental health apps.
He and his co-founders developed Eimhe, a mental health wellness platform that employs an AI backbone and a team of professionals to teach users emotional intelligence and self-regulation. “We are people with lived experiences who want to help others stay away from irreparable harm. As a black man, I found it is taboo to talk about mental health,” says Roc. “The cultural obstacles to mental health treatment are immense in many parts of the world.”
“We believe emotional intelligence has the ability to improve physical and mental health.”
Roc and his co-founders, Charles Pyle and Andy Bastien, start from the premise that people should be connected, and technology should be the enabler.
The mental health market is fragmented, with wellness platforms, self-management tools, employee and family assistance programs, health benefit providers and telehealth services all playing a role. Many of us have heard of Headspace, Happify, Fitbit, Sprout, Lifespeak, Mindwell-U, Betterhelp and Lyra.
Eimhe will exist at the intersection of these services, functioning as an intelligent solution provider.
While Eimhe’s founders recognized the needs gap and the opportunity, they engaged DFFRNT to form a research-based profile of their potential users, design an effective user interface, and develop a visual design.
“We engaged DFFRNT about eight months ago,” says Bastien. “We came to them to understand our user. They brought us a full design discovery experience.”
DFFRNT performed an ethnographic study and developed best practices for interacting with users. Analysis of the interviews combined with the secondary research informed the design outcomes, personas, usage goals and design guidelines. “They showed us how to lead users through the interface, and we came out of it with a full prototype,” says Roc.
Eimhe is fundamentally a health tool, supported as a health innovation under the Alberta Innovates program. The work done by DFFRNT allowed Eimhe’s development team to emphasize the clinical aspect of the software.
“DFFRNT investigated the user angle and saw the gap that needs to be filled. They doubled down with input from experts in cognitive behavioural therapy and psychology,” Bastien states. “We’re not psychologists, but one of the DFFRNT team has a Ph.D. in psychology. We benefit from the thoroughness of their approach.”
From their research and consultations, DFFRNT was able to extract three design outcomes grounded in science:
Three personas have been prototyped, and various scenarios and usage goals developed.
Eimhe is one of a handful of AI mental health apps. Eimhe will incorporate an AI companion that streamlines user access to resources, taking into account their preferences and belief systems. It also includes a support network, which provides access to professionals in several fields: psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, fitness professionals, life coaches, and nutrition and financial experts.
Charles Pyle was delighted with the results of DFFRNT’s work: “When we got a chance to see the outcome, the amount of detail was amazing. We realized the vision we were following was validated. After two years of ideation, I was tickled pink to see our platform founded in science.”
Eimhe is now doing user testing and usability testing of the prototype.
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