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Hacking Health: Driving Behavior Change through Digital Experience
By Egg Strategy Director Alexandra Hilker
The 21st century has radically shifted the way humans take care of our most basic needs. Likely the greatest disruptor has been technology, in many shapes and forms. It’s helped us do things faster, more efficiently, ideally giving back more time to focus on what we love. It’s connected us as to one another, as much as it has created deep divides. And it’s fueled greater urbanization—in its wake introducing more sedentary lifestyles, increasing alcohol consumption and facilitating some decidedly unhealthy diets.
It’s no surprise this is contributing to chronic disease growth worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, chronic diseases account for 71% of all deaths globally, with cardiovascular diseases accounting for the most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, and diabetes trailing not far behind (1.5 million)—all shocking statistics that should be spurring action.
If technology has fueled a lot of unhealthy habits, we know it has the power to equally be used for good. As health systems shift to become more patient-centric, we’re opening the doors to non-traditional ways of attacking these chronic conditions, with hopes of reshaping the system, and redefining how we take care of ourselves in the process.
More than just tracking steps and counting calories, sophisticated new health apps and digital tools are becoming catalysts to true behavior change. By taking a 360-degree approach—including traditional telehealth, physiological tracking, and lifestyle management—digital tools have the power to not only treat ailments, but prevent them in the first place.
One brand that is tackling anxiety and insomnia is Big Health, with mobile apps that deliver cognitive, skills-based behavioral therapy through virtual professors. Together, the two apps have been a part of 13 randomized controlled trials, with positive data to support their outcomes. Noom is another well-known app combatting obesity through the combined power of artificial intelligence, mobile tech, and psychology with the empathy of over 1,000 personal coaches providing education on a daily basis. With these brands in mind, a common pattern begins to emerge, balancing the art of human connection, with the science of facilitating education and reinforcing follow-up action.
At Egg, we approach innovation through Behavioral Science, grounded in the understanding of four key elements that ultimately shape behavior: 1. Motivations that drive consumers’ wants, 2. Ability of consumers to take action, 3. Cues that create strong calls to action, and finally, 4. Reinforcement of behaviors, rewarding consumers by demonstrating the impact these behaviors can create in their lives.
To understand each of these moments of opportunity, this requires mapping touchpoints and milestones of our consumers’ lives and understanding how environmental factors impact perceptions and decisions. By laying this clear foundation, we have the potential to design solutions that simplistically drive action, and create long-lasting engagement through emotional connection.
Putting this approach to practice, a leading healthcare brand tasked Egg to help launch an app designed to help patients with a chronic autoimmune disease navigate their treatment journey. In the context of a very complicated lived experience, we looked to authentically understand these patients’ experiences in order to address their unmet needs. Egg developed an iterative research approach that put the beta version of the app directly in the hands of patients, tracking their interactions and friction points in real-time. In follow-up co-creation sessions, we identified the strongest value proposition that informed where the experience could fit into patients’ lives, equipping the team with an arsenal of insight-driven functionality and feature ideas to drive frequent and long-term app use.
So, what do these cases boil down to? While the strongest ideas might solve an unmet need, driving consumer action is often at the heart of the challenge. And when it comes to solving problems on a global scale, widespread behavior change must be instigated in order to break the cycle. Ready to master the art and science of digital innovation—we’re here to help.