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Youper

"Youper uses Artificial Intelligence to understand your emotions and provide the support you need, anytime and anywhere." Evaluated: December 2019

The below evaluation is an example of the types of information you may find when using our Model to assess specific apps. This sample evaluation is not intended to enable you to make a decision about choosing these specific apps for actual use, as such a decision is a personal one that you will make based on your own unique preferences, needs, and evaluation. We strongly encourage you to download these apps for yourself and use our Model to conduct your own assessment.

This evaluation was completed December 6th and 7th, 2019, and is based on publicly available information found by our Panel at that time. In June 2020, APA's contacted the app developers and offered to them an opportunity to provide feedback on these assessments. Comments from developers who responded are included here. These comments do not necessarily reflect publicy available information at the time of the original assessment or presently.

 Access & Background

On which platforms/operating systems does the app work? Does it also work on desktop?

iOS and Android. Does not appear to work on desktop.

From Youper: No.

Has the app been updated in the last 180 days?

Yes, one week ago.

From Youper: We rollout updates at least once a month.

Does the app identify ownership?

Yes, Youper Inc.

Does the app identify funding sources and conflicts of interest?

No references noted.

From Youper: Funding information is available on Crunchbase, but not in the app.

Does the app come from a trusted source?

The reviewer was unable to answer this question based on information provided by the developer.

From Youper: The team which develops the app counts with psychologists and psychiatrists.

Does the app claim to be medical?

Not explicitly. Claims to be an "emotional health assistant."

From Youper: The App Store description says "Youper does not provide diagnosis or treatment. It is not a replacement for professional help, but it can support you to take care of your emotional health and works alongside therapy or other treatments if you are seeing a doctor or therapist."

Are there additional or hidden costs?

Some features are free, but many requires a subscrition for $9.99 per month or $44.99 per year.

From Youper: No.

Does the app work offline?

Yes.

From Youper: Yes.

Does the app work with accessibility features of the iPhone/Android? Is it accessible for those with impaired vision or other disabilities?

The reviewer was unable to answer this question based on information provided by the developer and while testing the app.

From Youper: Yes. Users can use accessibility features to increase the size of the fonts.

 Privacy & Safety

Is there a transparent privacy policy that is clear and accessible before use?

Yes, found here: https://www.youper.ai/privacy-policy

From Youper: Yes

Does the app collect, use, and/or transmit sensitive data? If yes, does it claim to do so securely?

Yes, detailed here: https://www.youper.ai/privacy-policy

From Youper: See PHI statement.

Does the app declare data use and purpose?

Yes, detailed here: https://www.youper.ai/privacy-policy

From Youper: Yes.

Does the app describe use of PHI?

Yes, the website states, "We DON’T collect or store medical information or Protected Health Information (PHI)..."

From Youper: Yes. We don't collect or store medical information or PHI.

Can you opt out of data collection or delete data?

Yes, "You can delete all your data by open the app, clicking on the "Me" bottom menu item, clicking on the gear icon (top right corner), then clicking "Delete my account." This will irrevocably delete all your data from our databases...To request the correction, deletion or limitation of the processing of your personal data, e.g. by sending us an e-mail"

From Youper: Yes.

Is data maintained in the device or on the web?

On the web, "We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements."

From Youper: Data are stored on the user's device, and are synced and backed up with web servers.

Does the app explain security systems used?

Yes, broadly described here: "Our services are operated in the United States of America. If you are located in another jurisdiction, please be aware that information you provide to us may be transferred to, stored and processed in the U.S.A. By using our services or providing us with any information, you consent to this transfer, processing, and storage of your information in the U.S.A., a jurisdiction in which the privacy laws may not be as comprehensive as those in the country where you reside or are a citizen. We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy."

What third parties does the app share data with?

Yes, "with third parties," and other service providers. These are not identified.

From Youper: We neither rent nor sell your information in a personally identifiable form to anyone. We use third-party service providers who provide technical and support services to help us provide and improve the Services. These third-party service providers may have limited access to databases of user information solely to help us to improve the product and they will be subject to contractual restrictions prohibiting them from using the personal data of our users for any other purpose. Source: Privacy Policy.

If appropriate, is the app equipped to respond to potential harms or safety concerns?

Somewhat. The website and app state: "If you are considering or committing suicide or feel that you are a danger to yourself or others, you must discontinue use of the Services immediately, call 911 or notify appropriate police or emergency medical personnel." The app then provides resources if "suicide" threat is indicated in conversation feature.

From Youper: Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities of the app are able to detect suicidal expressions and point users to look for professional help. The NLP capabilities are always evolving and are not infalible, that's why we advise users in our Terms of Services: "If you are considering or committing suicide or feel that you are a danger to yourself or others, you must discontinue use of the Services immediately, call 911 or notify appropriate police or emergency medical personnel."

 Clinical Foundation

Does the app appear to do what it claims to do?

Yes, it is an interactive AI app.

From Youper: Yes.

Is there evidence of specific benefit from academic institutions, publications, end user feedback or research studies?

The developers claim there is, but don't provide more informatoin other than: "In recent research, we analyzed data from one million individuals and discovered that more than 80% of them improved their mood by talking to Youper."

From Youper: There's a preprint of a feasibility trial.
Top App for Depression.
Here's the end user feedback

 

Does the app have a clinical/recovery foundation relevant to your intended use?

Yes, for the wearable. There is also a research program for the wearable with device partners.

Is the app content correct, well-written, and relevant?

Yes.

From Youper: All content is written by psychologists and psychiatrists.

What are the relevant sources or references supporting the app use cases?

Unlcear. No major studies are apparent. The app and website mention "experts."

From Youper: Youper is based on evidence-based psychological techniques. However, we don't reference the sources due to conversational nature of app.

Was there an attempt to validate app usability and feasibility?

Yes, see evidence of specific benefit.

From Youper: Yes, see evidence of specific benefit.

Is there evidence of effectiveness/efficacy?

Unclear, as no references were found in Google Scholar.

From Youper: See evidence of specific benefit.

 Usability

Does the app seem easy to use?

Yes.

From Youper: Yes.

What are the main engagement styles of the app?

AI conversations, tracking, and screening tests.

From Youper: Conversational interface, graphical user interfaces.

Do the app and its features align with your needs and priorities?

Yes, this app aligns with the needs and priorities of the reviewer (e.g., augmenting treatment for stress, anxiety, depression).

From Youper: Yes.

Is it customizable?

Yes, users can pick screening questions.

From Youper: Yes.

Does the app clearly define its functional scope?

Yes, it clearly defines its functional scope as using AI to help to treat stress, anxiety, depression.

From Youper: Yes.

 Therapeutic Goal

Can data be easily shared and interpreted in a way that's consistent with the stated purpose of the app?

Yes, the app states: "Through your account settings, you may access, and, in some cases, edit or delete the following information you’ve provided to us: nickname, password, email address, user profile information, text-based entries, moods, and associated factors, self-reported symptoms. Can request data via email."

From Youper: Yes

Do you own your data?

Yes.

From Youper: Yes.

Can the app share data with EMR and other data tools (Apple HealthKit, FitBit)?

Yes, the app works with HealthKit.

From Youper: Yes.

Is the app for individual use or to be used in collaboration with a provider? If intended to be used with a provider, does the app have the ability to export or transfer data?

The app can be used in conjunction with a provider.

From Youper: Youper can be used alongside a provider, but there's no feature to export and transfer data at the moment.

Does the app lead to any positive behavior change or skill acquisition?

In the opinion of this reviewer, it would appear to be capable of doing so in use.

From Youper: Yes.

Does the app improve therapeutic alliance between patient and provider?

In the opinion of this reviewer, it would appear to be capable of doing so in use.

From Youper: Yes.

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