PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The newest and most powerful weapon to fight chronic illness may be a unique combination of behavioral economics, the latest gaming technology, artificial intelligence, and personal coaching.
SidekickHealth, a gamified health behavior change service that predicts, manages and prevents chronic and lifestyle-related conditions, today announced results of improved treatment compliance and reduction of diabetes from deployments with several at-risk populations.
When comparing those using the SidekickHealth game to those who did not, SidekickHealth users were up to three times more likely to reach their five percent weight loss goals in 16 weeks. Furthermore, there was up to 30 percent less dropout rate in the SidekickHealth program than the standard care group.
“We are seeing that a program like SidekickHealth combined with personal coaching is the key to motivating people to make significant changes in their behavior, even those groups who have been challenged by genetic pre-disposition, social or economic disparities,” said co-founder and CEO Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, M.D, M.P.H. “Our brains don’t always work to make logical choices. So we developed SidekickHealth to activate the emotional triggers as well as the logic of decision-making. It’s a new approach that is getting results far beyond those achieved with coaching alone. While our initial focus has been in the area of diabetes prevention, the same principles apply to improving the management of chronic illnesses that are lifestyle related, like obesity and hypertension.”
Over the past year, SidekickHealth has been successfully deployed to improve outcomes for in-person, community-based diabetes prevention programs across the U.S., including those serving vulnerable populations who face an increased risk such as Hispanic, Native American and Medicare-age individuals. The use of images, games and Smartphones overcomes the barriers to change otherwise attributed to social disparities and cultural differences.
“We collaborated with SidekickHealth because it makes our program scalable, allowing us to provide more diabetes prevention programs to those in need,” said Marlayna Bollinger, Founder and Executive Director of the Skinny Gene Project, a San Diego-based non-profit organization with a Diabetes Prevention Program that has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. “With SidekickHealth, we can maintain the high-touch relationships that are especially important to low-income participants. We can modify the program to make it culturally relevant and ensure information is not just received; it's understood. In groups that are at high risk for diabetes, like Hispanics and Native Americans, SidekickHealth has been especially effective in helping people lower their risk for diabetes.”
Based on the latest brain research and the newest gamification technology, and developed and researched in collaboration with professionals from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SidekickHealth is an easy-to-deploy digital service for in-person behavior modification programs. SidekickHealth is accessed via website, tablet or Smartphone to educate, motivate, measure and manage behavior. Artificial intelligence and evidence-based guidelines, such as those from the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, combine to lead the user into making healthier choices that reduce risk factors. As a result, healthcare providers can better compete in the emerging value-based reimbursement landscape.
Developed by physicians who believed there had to be a better way to help patients get healthier than brief office visits, SidekickHealth is already in use with several CDC certified providers of the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
On average, participants have six to eight interactions with proven behavior modification activities, per day, seven days a week. Examples of motivating behavior change are commitment contracts such as skipping soda for a period of time or increasing vegetable consumption. In addition to diet and exercise, SidekickHealth also recognizes the role of stress management in behavior change, and includes modules to promote mindfulness and relaxation.
SidekickHealth was founded by two practicing physicians, Tryggvi “Thor” Thorgeirsson, M.D., M.P.H. and Saemundur “Sam” Oddsson, M.D., to predict and prevent lifestyle-related diseases. Recognizing that traditional methods of counseling for lifestyle change were not effective enough to bring about the massive shift that is needed to reverse the global epidemic of chronic illness, these two founders brought together a team of physicians, psychologists, public health scientists, biomedical engineers, and game developers and drew on the latest research from leading academic and medical institutions in the U.S. and Europe. The result is SidekickHealth, a highly engaging, gamified service and app featuring programs for diet, physical activity and stress management. The platform is designed to reach those who are in greatest need of lifestyle change, including the 50 percent of adults who have low health literacy, and people with low motivation for lifestyle change. SidekickHealth also helps diabetes prevention programs and chronic disease management programs lower operational costs, improve outcomes, and increase value-based reimbursements.