Pahola, new digital health worker to educate about the risks of alcoholism

Nov 19, 2021

On November 19th, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) launched Pahola, a digital healthcare worker created by Soul Machines and helping people learn more about alcohol, its impact, and its risks on health, and a guide with practical steps and suggestions to reduce or quit drinking, steering towards a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks to Pahola, PAHO hopes to democratize the delivery of alcohol education and health promotion when there are simply not enough doctors and public health resources. This initiative has the potential of saving at least 50,000 lives a year and gaining millions of Life Years by reducing diseases and injuries from risky drinking.

“We are proud to partner with PAHO to help scale health communication in a high-trust personalized way,” said Soul Machines co-founder and Chief Business Officer Greg Cross.

Pahola is more than an always-on virtual assistant as it can hear, see, understand and respond with emotionally appropriate expressions. Its empathy and non-judgmental attitude are especially important to encourage users to assess if they have an alcohol use disorder and drop their concerns about privacy and stigma., Pahola can make them comfortable asking questions about alcohol’s effects on health, how to seek remedies, and protect from withdrawal. 

Pahola is the second Digital Person designed to combat preventable health issues and follows Florence, who was launched in July 2020 by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) quit tobacco initiative. Pahola speaks 3 different languages – English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Cross added, “We congratulate PAHO on its bold innovation in public health. This is essential for closing the gap in access to health care and distributing accurate accessible information to the public.”