10 Updates

What If Doctors Could Finally Prescribe Behavior Change?

Apr 17 2014, 6:26pm CDT | by

This guest article is by Sean Duffy, CEO and Co-Founder, Omada Health Three out of four Americans will die of a disease that could be avoided—if only they could re-route their unhealthy habits. A...

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14 weeks ago

What If Doctors Could Finally Prescribe Behavior Change?

Apr 17 2014, 6:26pm CDT | by

This guest article is by Sean Duffy, CEO and Co-Founder, Omada Health

Three out of four Americans will die of a disease that could be avoided—if only they could re-route their unhealthy habits. A new category of medicine, digital therapeutics, wants to change the course of these conditions — and of history.

Doctors have known for decades that, in order to prevent disease or its complications, they were going to have to get into people’s living rooms and convince them to change everyday behaviors that would very likely kill them. To that end, back in the early ’90s, health institutions started trying to intervene largely via the cutting-edge technology that existed at the time: phone calls. At-risk populations were dialed up and encouraged to take steps that could ward off heart disease, diabetes complications, lung cancer and other avoidable conditions that cause 75% of Americans to die prematurely.

As you can imagine, these calls largely flopped. A phone interaction led by a stranger who interrupts your dinner hour, no matter how well-intentioned, felt like more like an intrusion than meaningful
support./>

The more we discover about behavioral science, the more naïve those calls seem in retrospect. Whether it’s for weight loss, smoking cessation, diabetes, or otherwise, the best research shows that meaningful behavior change outcomes require not just guidance from a trusted health professional, but also positive social support, easy-to-digest insights about their condition, a carefully orchestrated timeline, and a process that follows validated behavioral science protocols. That’s hard to squeeze into a phone call. Or a doctor’s visit, for that matter.

The world urgently needs better ways to bring behavior change therapies to the masses, and advancements in digital tech are finally enabling us to orchestrate the necessary ingredients to make that happen in a clinically meaningful way.

That’s doesn’t make it easy. In fact, it’s effectively pioneering a new class of medicine, often dubbed “digital therapeutics.” But any clinically-meaningful digital therapeutic needs to clear two significant
hurdles. One, it needs to genuinely engage and inspire the patient, both initially and over time. Two, it must also unequivocally demonstrate efficacy to the medical community by rooting itself in the best science and by producing clinically-significant outcomes, just as any traditional drug is expected to do./>

That’s why, until recently, most available health apps couldn’t truly be categorized as digital therapeutics. For instance, a study in 2012 showed that very few of the top 50 smoking cessation apps available at the time abided by evidence-based protocols. This high-tech snake oil was not deliberate, but it is a side effect of the fact that very few of the leading behavioral science researchers knowing how to program in Objective C or Ruby on Rails. Companies looking to truly pioneer in this new category must both establish and exceed the highest scientific standards while building exceptional online experiences. The good news is that is starting to happen.

Emerging in the white hat category are a handful of medically-minded visionaries who have put real clinical rigor into every aspect of their design. For instance, David Van Sickle, a former CDC “epidemiologist intelligence officer,” and now the CEO and Co-Founder of Propeller Health, built a GPS-enabled sensor for asthma inhalers that links to an elegantly designed app — every puff is mapped and time-stamped, allowing patients and doctors to spot patterns in ‘random’ attacks and identify previously unknown triggers.

Another example is Jenna Tregarthen, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology and eating disorder specialist. She rallied a team of engineers, entrepreneurs, and fellow psychologists to develop Recovery Record, a digital therapy that helps patients gain control over their eating disorder by enabling them to self-monitor for destructive thoughts or actions, follow meal plans, achieve behavior goals, and message a therapist instantly when they need support.

Momentum for the promise of digital therapeutics is building. A massive surge in digital health investing reflects how rapidly confidence in this space is growing. In ten years, we have no doubt that your doctor will recommend a digital program for your depression either instead of, or in addition to, a pill. Your insomnia, kidney stones, or lower back pain might be treated by an experience centered around an iOS app. We can clearly see a future where a doctor’s prescription sends you to an immersive online experience as often as it does to a pharmacy.

The world is finally entering a new era of effective, scalable, and life-saving change, all delivered through the other end of an internet connection. For three out of four of us, that change can’t come soon enough.

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Sydney FC v West Ham United - Football United New Zealand Tour 2014
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was reject ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the so ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compens ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minis ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allo ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Sk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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