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Digital and its part in behaviour change

Despite its tremendous value, technology on its own is not a strong enough intervention
Digital and its part in behaviour change

With the combination of advances in digital technology and increasingly burdened healthcare systems, the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare providers could be forgiven for believing that the elusive answer to achieving optimal self-management and medicines adherence is just an app away!  

Those leading the digital revolution clearly think the same. With Apple's release of its Health app and HealthKit platform, the UK government's backing of Proteus' innovative 'chip in a pill' technology and a myriad of other competing and complementary technologies vying for evolutionary dominance and application in healthcare, it's clear that we're not short of options. But is this increased focus on technology really delivering value to all stakeholders and ultimately improving health outcomes?

There's some evidence to suggest not. In January 2012 Google retired its Health offering, saying it was “not having the broad impact that we hoped it would”. The company added: “There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven't found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people. That's why we've made the difficult decision to discontinue the Google Health service.” More recently a white paper looking at the adoption of 'wearables', such as the Jawbone UP and Nike Fuelband, suggested that “more than half of US consumers who have owned a modern activity tracker no longer use it and a third of US consumers who have owned one stopped using the device within six months of receiving it”.

With such a wealth a digital applications designed to support positive health behaviours, why are so many failing to achieve their desired outcomes?

View the full article on Spoonful of Sugar's PMHub profile.

Article by
Andrew Martello

managing director and co-founder of Spoonful of Sugar. For further information on how to optimise digital patient solutions email andrew@sos-adherence.co.uk, follow @SoSAdherence on Twitter or watch the evidence-based adherence strategies webinar on May 28 here.

4th June 2014

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