Evidence for the Massive Potential of Digital Health Coaching

Nudge App Health Coaching

A new study published in The Annual Review of Public Health highlights the effectiveness of digitally enable health promotion in improving positive behavior change and improved outcomes among patients. This analysis focused specifically on mobile text-message strategies used in prior studies.

Researchers involved called it a systematic review of reviews "to identify mobile text-messaging interventions designed for health improvement and behavior change and to derive recommendations for practice”.

In simpler terms, this meta-analysis asked whether or not text-message based care been successful in helping patients improve their health habits and outcomes according to the existing body of research on the topic.

What researchers found was resoundingly positive. From the review:

"Our review found that the majority of published text-messaging interventions were effective when addressing diabetes self-management, weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, and medication adherence for antiretroviral therapy."

According to MobiHealthNews, the review entitled Mobile Text Messaging for Health: A Systematic Review of Reviews, based its findings on a collection of 15 perviously published review studies, which all told included research from ...

"228 text message intervention studies addressing health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic disease self management. Study sizes ranged from 10 to 5,800 participants."

This research has significant implications for the use of digitally enabled health and wellness interventions for population health and patient care.

This conclusion is strengthened by other recent studies that have showed remote telephonic and web-based health promotion yielding nearly identical positive behavior change and outcomes with patients to regular face-to-face visits.

This 2011 study on the Comparative Effectiveness of Weight-Loss Interventions in Clinical Practice published in the New England Journal of Medicine provides a strong example.

This research compared the effectiveness of face-to-face visits with patients against health promotion through telephonic and web-based remote strategies for weight loss among patients with at least one cardiovascular risk factor.

The study’s conclusion speaks for itself:

"In two behavioral interventions, one delivered with in-person support and the other delivered remotely, without face-to-face contact between participants and weight-loss coaches, obese patients achieved and sustained clinically significant weight loss over a period of 24 months."

The control group in this study, who was tasked with pursuing “self-directed weight loss” saw almost no improvement - lost an average of 0.8 kg, compared to the average 4.6 kg and 5.1 kg lost by remotely coached and in-person coached patients respectively.

Studies like these highlight the effectiveness of digitally enabled health intervention strategies and hint at the massive potential for digital health coaching programs in the future.

By artfully leveraging the best mobile health patient monitoring tools, and leading fitness apps and wearables like MapMyFitness and Fitbit, platforms like the Nudge App and Nudge Coach can take proven digitally enabled lifestyle intervention strategies and make them incredibly scalable, allowing each lifestyle health professional to have a greater impact on more patients, in more places than ever before.

Post by Phil Beene