Combining behavioral and data sciences to optimize chronic disease management


Digital tools have become an essential part of our lives. Online calendars guide our daily routine; Waze and Google Maps plan our routes – warn us of traffic or an upcoming accident; websites and apps recommend nearby restaurants; and that’s just to name a few. These technologies orient and redirect us, offering optimal support for our individual needs.

The healthcare industry is increasingly offering digital aids to optimize remote patient monitoring and chronic disease management. But ensuring the availability of these platforms is not enough; patients need utilize so that they can be effective, and that requires behavior change. So how can we strike the perfect balance between useful and engaging?

Chronic disease: badly managed or under-managed?

The prevalence of chronic diseases continues to be a global challenge, accounting for 75% of all annual deaths. While it is generally assumed that these diseases mainly affect the elderly, chronic diseases kill 15 million younger patients (30 to 69 years old) every year. Diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and cancer are on a list of diseases that wreak havoc on all ages and life stages.

People with a chronic illness face many management challenges in areas such as self-care, diet, therapies, medications, appointments, etc., while navigating the psychological effects and physiological aspects of their disease throughout the day. In this context, it is not surprising that treatment non-adherence rates among people with chronic conditions stand at 50%, highlighting the vital need for effective engagement tools.

Enter behavioral and data science. By working behind the scenes to examine what motivates us and what we respond to best, behavioral science applied to AI-powered technologies can create personalized success companions that help people take small but important steps. throughout difficult health journeys. Good adherence and management of care alleviate much of the patient’s suffering; Applying behavioral science to chronic disease care models can dramatically improve a patient’s well-being and prognostic outcomes, providing the missing key layer of support needed to trigger behavior change.

Personalize and optimize patient journeys

The field of behavioral science helps shift the focus from mind to action, understanding that suggestion can teach behavior. In medicine, behavioral scientists can apply psychosocial interventions to encourage treatment adherence, but behavioral science is certainly more complex than simple suggestion; it studies, individualizes and influences the “why” and the “when” of individual commitment or abstinence from certain behaviors. As innovators recognize gaps in care, they can better merge the study of behavior with predictive analytics technology to optimize chronic disease management.

Personalized medicine is not a new concept. Healthcare practitioners have worked to individualize care needs throughout the history of medicine, and we have witnessed the emergence of predictive technologies that can analyze the response to specific interventions and help to identify the risks. This catalyzes an opportunity to further optimize chronic disease care management.

The millions of data points collected in real time and evaluated through artificial intelligence platforms can produce actionable recommendations and prompts to encourage behavior change. For example, a study evaluating proactive care calls for patients with chronic conditions found a noticeable decrease in hospital admission rates in the intervention group. These findings serve as a precursor to the benefits of evolving technology and behavior change programs, which may enable more effective disease management and increased living standards. Behavioral and data science is beginning to play a key role in helping patients achieve their goals, feel motivated, and ultimately live their healthiest lives – with proven results.

Considerable advances have taken place over the past 50 years producing evolving support in chronic disease self-management, allowing the patient to develop behavioral skills to effectively navigate a variety of disease management tasks. Innovators must now rise to the challenge, coming up with new ways to integrate previously undeveloped technologies into existing structures for the benefit of patients – transformation within social and behavioral research is resulting from vast amounts of data available through mobile device technology.

Products that monitor our daily routines, including smartphones, smartwatches, and other remote monitoring devices, are leading the way to applying effective disease management and understanding its value. Communicating and collecting data from trusted personal devices that already support all facets of life has the advantage of learning the nuances of behavior and what motivates people to make significant changes to their daily routines. . Powerful interpretation of what lies behind the way we think and act enables us to create tools and algorithms that aid in chronic disease management in familiar formats. This artificial intelligence technology integrated with algorithms based on behavioral science facilitates the observation of physical and emotional cues and, most importantly, understands the connection between a call to action and the resulting behavior. In other words, emotional intelligence serves disease management through valuable partnership and support, promoting optimal outcomes.

We trust behavioral and data science!

A certain level of skepticism generally accompanies advances in medicine and technology, but the combination of modern technology and scientific behavioral principles continues to prove effective in optimizing chronic disease management.

Patient experience with chronic disease is highly dependent on individual participation in adherence to treatment plans. Easy access to care, better self-management and financial cost containment are essential for these patients, and delivering exciting innovation that provides automated intervention programs can significantly enrich their health journey. Innovators and practitioners have the chance to explore new methods of patient engagement in the era of incredibly advanced intelligence technology, responding to demands when they are needed most.

Digital health tools that ignore behavioral science miss the point. Focusing on patient independence, providing support, and emphasizing empathy in motivation, equips providers with technologies that offer targeted strategies for the treatment of chronic conditions. High overall happiness is only a few behavioral adjustments away.

Photo: AlexandraFlorian, Getty Images


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