With their potential to deliver evidence-based outcomes and reduce the burden on the healthcare system through optimized care, digital therapeutics are immensely beneficial to patients. But their success is entirely dependent upon a patient’s willingness to adhere to a prescribed treatment plan.
We recently hosted a virtual discussion with Elli Kaplan, Co-founder and CEO of leading cognitive health solution Neurotrack, and Christopher Scales, Star’s Director of Strategy and Insight, to explore the challenge of adherence and the shared elements of successful engagement-driven DTx.
Christopher detailed 10 Key experiences principles and examples across the digital health ecosystem that Star discovered through intensive digital therapeutic industry research and analysis. As Christopher walked the audience through these principles, Elli discussed them through the lens of launching Neurotrack’s comprehensive cognitive health solution.
Neurotrack is keenly focused on making brain health accessible by educating people about the importance of cognitive health and providing a personalized digital therapeutic intervention to help them maintain and improve it.
Through, as Elli described, encouraging users by “displaying scores [cognitive health benchmarks] in such a way they are understandable and visual” and “getting users to engage in an ongoing way,” they’ve been able to deliver effective treatment and clinically-backed interventions to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and protect against cognitive decline.
Empathetic consumerism is vital
It is easy to forget that patients are consumers. But unlike the supermarket where a person is free to choose what they like and can afford, the consumer journey is opaque and scary in the healthcare system. They don’t know what’s going on with their health and the cost and timeframe of what’s happening to them.
As patients, they lack control, and this loss of agency directly impacts engagement. With DTx features, including education, peer group benchmarking, and progress indicators, patients are empowered and regain some of this lost agency. The result is meaningful interaction between provider, patient and the selected care intervention sparking better adherence through engagement drivers.
This is an area where Neurotrack has truly broken new ground. Cognitive health information was extremely limited in the past. Even today, 20 states are considered “neurology deserts,” noted Elli Kaplan. With Neurotrack, the “simple fact that they [patients] can get data on what’s going on in their brain and see how the numbers are changing is incredibly valuable to people.”
The bottom line is that providers must allow people to feel in control as they navigate these digital tools and their changing health.
Make achievements tangible
Health is both abstract and very real. Understanding progress made over months and even years can be very difficult for patients and may discourage long term adherence.
From Christopher’s industry research, he observed that people could better perceive how their health is improving over time by creating easy to grasp, simple, and clear benchmarks.
Elli described what this looks like for Neurotrack, “We hear it from all kinds of users. The end game for people who find us is to die from something other than Alzheimer’s Disease. But there are steps in between…How can we get them using the app, testing and modifying lifestyle such that they live out their life and preserve the memories they spent a lifetime building.”
Neurotrack has achieved this goal in several ways. While it can be difficult for users to self-quantify their cognitive health, they can use Neurotrack’s benchmarks to see the progress they’ve made and compare themselves to others in their peer group. From here, Neurotrack provides additional resources, including different scores based on cognitive health and lifestyle, which help reinforce users’ positive behavioral choices.
How to create engagement-driven digital therapeutics
While healthcare prices have grown out of control, population health has steadily declined in recent years. Digital therapeutics are among the strongest tools we have available to reverse these trends and deliver patient-centric, affordable health solutions that improve health across the board.
By demonstrating value, restoring control, establishing benchmarks, and building products inclusive of people’s needs, it is possible to foster engagement even with new technologies that patients have limited familiarity with. Empower them as more than just patients, but active consumers and you’ll create a digital health solution that people will love to use every day.
At Star, we are dedicated to building digital health solutions that drive stakeholder value. From harnessing automation and improving provider workflows to building life-changing cognitive training applications, we always put user needs front and center.