Researchers have developed a fun and interactive eHealth platform called SidekickHealth that motivates overweight and obese adults to become healthier.

Designed especially to promote health and tackle chronic diseases, the platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) and evidence-based guidelines to encourage users to make healthier choices that reduce risk factors.

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A mobile health-engagement platform in the form of an app can help promote weight loss and adherence to in-person lifestyle modification programs among overweight and obese adults, new research indicates.

Results obtained with the Sidekick Health platform were presented June 11 here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2017 Scientific Sessions by company cofounder and chief medical officer Saemundur “Sam” Oddsson, MD, an internist in Palo Alto, California.

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“AI will bring about radical changes to every aspect of healthcare, including patient outcomes, workforce requirements and operations.

It will become a defining competitive factor across the whole spectrum of healthcare provision. The impact of AI on healthcare will be no less than the effect of automation on manufacturing…”

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Some see mHealth gaming as an effort to appeal to emotion over reason. To compel true patient engagement, they say, one has to play to the passions.

“We in healthcare have for too long been overly targeting the rational mind,” says Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, MD, MPH, a physician at the National University Hospital of Iceland and a researcher of behavioral economics at the Harvard School of Public Health.

“Most digital health solutions are reason-based,” whereas efforts to change patients’ behaviors should focus more on “finding meaningful ways of giving you instant gratification and rewards.”

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Digital coaching and a gamified approach to healthy lifestyle choices may be a powerful tool in managing chronic conditions, according to new data from health engagement platform provider GoodlifeMe, which makes SidekickHealth.

SidekickHealth is a suite of online, customizable wellness and disease prevention programs for providers and employers.

The web or-mobile-based programs offer personalized coaching, games and diet and exercise tracking based on each individual’s specific health needs, and are used as part of many CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs.

It is based on brain research and gamification technology developed in collaboration with experts from Harvard and MIT, and is accessible either online or through a mobile app.

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