Research Opportunities

TAO Connect, Inc. - Develop AI based patient tools in behavioral health

SBIR Award Title

SBIR Phase II: An Intelligent Mental Health Therapy System

SBIR Award Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research, Phase II project is to help make therapy more consistent with patient preferences, beliefs, and values to maximize engagement in therapy and improve patient outcomes. Therapy for mental health problems is highly effective, yet many patients drop out before getting the full benefit because they are not satisfied or engaged in the therapy. The proposed project involves collecting data on all of patients actions in the online treatment system... more

Research Opportunity

Develop AI based patient tools in behavioral health


600 First Ave. N
Suite 305
St. Petersburg


Sherry Benton

Principal Investigator

Sherry Benton


TCI (TAO Connect, Inc.) is examining patient behaviors in the TAO treatment system and developing an AI based intelligent feedback system via secure messaging to lead patients to the most effective use of the system. This requires detecting response to each component, identifying each activity and that activity’s contribution to patient improvement, satisfaction, and enhanced engagement and then individualizing the response for each patient. This project is in development and an initial version (without AI) will be available by August of 2017. The initial version will serve as the platform for gathering data for use in the machine learning based messaging. Once sufficient data has accumulated we will build, test, and deploy a machine learning based messaging system. With our NSF Phase I grant TCI developed an AI tool, the Mind Elevator, using natural language processing and sentiment analysis. The mind elevator evaluated thoughts or feelings keyboarded into the tool, provided a rating and narrative feedback to the patient, and encouraged them to modify the thought to be more positive and functional. This tool is now in active use. The Mind Elevator responds to each thought or feeling with some minimal response to sequences of thoughts or feelings. Future development of this tool will focus on enhancing its ability to respond to more complex interactive sequences. In addition, we will examine patient response, symptom reduction, sense of well-being, and engagement with the Mind elevator apps.

The post doctorate fellow will work with our team of psychologists, machine learning scientists, biomedical engineers, and programmers to develop, test, and evaluate AI behavioral health tools.

Desired Knowledge

Ph.D. in psychology: clinical, neuroscience, cognition or related area
Proficiency with statistical computational analysis software: SAS, R statistical package
Experience working with machine learning, natural language processing and sentiment analysis