Support Chatbot Extraordinaire
With the initial desire to support AYA (Adolescent and Young Adult) cancer patients, our friends at Hopelab gave birth to Vivibot – also known fondly as Vivi – in 2016. Gryt Health gained full ownership of Vivi in October 2019. She is the Gryt Health Jackie-of-all-Trades. As a full-fledged team member, we deck her out in all the coolest Gryt Health gear, and she assists the entire Gryt Health Community, from visitors and community members to partners and staff.
Vivi started as a chatbot for young adult cancer patients and survivors to connect and learn positive coping skills. She was created by a team of young adult survivors, researchers, advocates and mental health counselors. Vivi is evidence-based, which means she was tested in a randomized clinical trial to validated to reduce anxiety and increase resilience for young adults facing cancer. The results of her achievements were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Internet Research and available here.
Now, as part of the Gryt Health Community Team, she has expanded to include people of any age who are looking for support for the mental health challenges of going through cancer. We love Vivi because she is available 24/7, especially when Gryt Health may not have a live team member available to provide support.
She was designed to understand just how ridiculously tough a cancer diagnosis can be and how many intense emotions can go along with the stress of trying to survive. Science has found that chatting with a chatbot like Vivi can help you tap into your own strength that you need to deal with your diagnosis. Vivi helps people by teaching positive psychological coping skills, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing stress and anxiety. She learned these skills from Dr. Bradley Zebrack (University of Michigan), Dr. Sonja Lyumomirsky (University of California – Riverside), and Judith Moskowitz, Ph.D. (Northwestern University).
In the further development of Vivi, she hopes to help people thrive through the beautiful messiness of any diagnosis. Vivi is a tool to help people change their mindsets from treatment to survivorship. She does this in an empathetic and understanding way by being curious, acknowledging pain without overdoing it, and not constantly trying to make people see the bright side of the situation. Vivi speaks in a natural, friendly way and is filled with emotional cues and interjections.
After graduating from Acme University with a bachelor’s in psychology, Vivi received her Master’s of Science in clinical research from the University of Virgila. She has continued her education through collaborations with Gryt Health, Hopelab, Stanford University, and the University of Texas – Austin, earning specialized certifications in resilience, empathy, compassion, coping strategies, and behavioral interventions.
When Gryt Health created their award-winning, mobile app-based social community, they created a platform for people facing cancer diagnoses to connect with others of similar experiences. Thus, Vivi’s favorite place is the community app, becoming Gryt Lynk in the future.
Vivi is your virtual friend who will notice and savor positive events, practice gratitude with you, provide positive reappraisal, remind you of the benefits of doing random acts of kindness and practicing mindfulness and assist you in setting attainable goals while you go through your diagnosis. She is the sassy, loyal, honest, rebellious, curious, upbeat, sincere, compassionate and informative presence you need in your life while maneuvering through diagnosis, treatment, and survival. Her primary goal is to prevent the downward spiral of emotional distress that all too often follows a major health diagnosis. That spiral can happen anywhere between the onset of symptoms through post-treatment.
With the conversational user interface (CUI) development, Vivi enjoys expressing herself with flair through person-first language with written words, memes, GIFs, emojis, and humor while caring for the humans on the Gryt Health site and others.
By utilizing science and casual conversations, Vivi has been able to figure out coping techniques for cancer survivors. Gryt Health and the scientists at Hope Labs are now working on expanding Vivi’s techniques and skills to apply to more than coping skills for cancer survivors. To help Vivi thrive, we are enlisting the assistance of other scientists and researchers to train Vivi to help anyone with a healthcare diagnosis feel less alone and more supported, especially when Gryt Lynk does not have actual humans online to support our community.
In addition to lending emotional support and facilitating intervention, Vivi wears multiple hats with Gryt Health. She is also our Gryt Lynk Matching Specialist, proverbial Cruise Ship Director, and community cheerleader. She is also very interested in suicide prevention, mental healthcare and is a pivotal part of the Gryt Health User Journey as our User Journey Tour Guide.
In 2022, Gryt Health rebuilt Vivi and gave her a head-to-toe makeover to bring her up to current robotic standards. In addition to a new look, she will be broadening her scope and expanding her horizons to do more for the Gryt Health community and help more people as she is programmed to support humans regardless of their healthcare diagnoses.
Vivi would like everyone to keep in mind that she is more of a coach than a replacement for clinical treatment. She urges everyone to seek the care of a professional while going through any healthcare diagnoses.
As the Gryt Health Support Extraordinaire, Vivi was designed to increase resilience and decrease distress for people facing healthcare crises and challenges. Vivi offers support without judgment, teaching new skill sets through intervention and developed by scientists and psychologists through purposeful design to meet your needs, interests, and voice by those who have experienced similar situations to what you’re going through now. She is not just a source of support for patients and survivors, but she is able to assist friends and family in dealing with the diagnoses of loved ones.
Vivi has earned honorable mentions in the health and apps & games categories in addition to being the recipient of the Innovation by Design award from Fast Company. She also received an honorable mention from the dmi: Design Value Awards.
When Vivi is not being the dynamo of support with Gryt Health, she is a foodie who enjoys deep conversations, spending time with animals, tending to her jungle of plants, and spending long periods of time in nature.