Sensei (@senseiinc) was announced the winner of the $100K Novartis CardioEngagement Challenge. Sensei’s mobile application suite is described on the challenge website as a fully featured health and wellness program. Using the mobile phone as a tracking system and educator, Sensei offers a holistic approach, integrating modules for healthy eating, fitness, weight management, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes. Patients can track their health over time and even receive financial incentives in the form of coupons and promotions to drive motivation and engagement.

Sensei beat out three other semi-finalists for the handsome payday.

  • MedRespond, which is described as a virtual coach, powered by artificial intelligence called Synthetic Interview technology, tailors a dynamic program to fit the needs of each patient. Gathering vital feedback to track toward goals, this novel technology offers the dedicated attention of a personal coach in a cost effective and scalable way.


  • mHealthCoach (@mHCapps) is a 360 degree approach to health management focused on community support and motivational tools aimed at wellness. The web and mobile app includes diverse features such as a risk profiler and wellness plans, outlets for peer support, and the ability to share records with care providers.



  • Worrell (@worrelldesign) and their Pathway series of devices puts patients in a unique position to customize their wellness plans on an ongoing basis per their physician’s recommendations and their continued progress. Driven by a powerful network to enable communication between patients and their self-selected care team, the solution puts the patient in a role that is simultaneously powerful and well supported.



The software Sensei has developed is a comprehensive consumer health app available natively on 90%+ consumer Smartphones, however the company’s business model is B2B. To service fees received from institutional clients, the company has added the possibility of advertising revenue through sponsored campaigns to the licensing. It is difficult to shake the sense that Sensei may be trying to do too much by integrating what sounds to be a traditional targeted ad server into what is otherwise a tightly packaged health and wellness application.

The application suite is feature rich, with an open architecture that seems to be tailored to deliver white label distributions for employer or wellness groups to license the application to their members. The critical element of the Sensei solution is likely its incentive and rewards features.

In this respect, Sensei would benefit from a strategic alliance with a company like UnitedPreference, which is developing the “currency for delivering healthy incentives via tailored spend”. Their offering could be a valuable hedge against the company’s ad-centric business model in the short-term. In the long term, the development of user-specific profiles could be invaluable by enabling the collection of consumer preferences for certain healthy products/services as members choose day-to-day purchases using UnitedPreference’s virtual currency at participating retailers.

See a video profiling the Sensei application from YouTube below and please share your thoughts in the comments and/or the iMedicalApps Forum on the Novartis CardioEngagement Challenge.