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Automated health tracking technology, in which connected devices and apps record and transmit patient behavior and physiological data, is more effective in promoting patient long-term health engagement than manual tracking, a recent study concludes.
Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study compared the effectiveness of manual and automated patient health and behavioral data entries via connected devices and apps. Participants in the study were members of the Walgreens Balance Rewards for health choices (BRhc) program, a web-based self-monitoring program that includes incentives for users to continue tracking and adopt healthier behaviors.
The BRhc Web-based portal and mobile app allow members to track exercise (including walking, running, and cycling), body weight, sleep, and tobacco use. It also offers members reward points for connecting biometric devices and inputting blood glucose and blood pressure readings.
An international team of researchers examined activity tracking data for 455,341 BRhc users during 2014. The results show that while 77% of users chose manual entry, “individuals who entered activities automatically through supported devices or apps participated roughly four times longer than their manual activity-entering counterparts.”
“Consumers are increasingly more engaged in their own healthcare and wellness,” Harry Leider, M.D., chief medical officer of Walgreens, said in a statement. “Digital technology that enables easy data tracking of healthy behaviors, combined with incentives, and trusted professional support, provide additional motivation for our customers to more easily manage their health.”
The study was a collaboration between Walgreens and the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI).