Last year we reported on how AstraZeneca was helping pay for cardiac rehabilitation patients to have a personalized digital health coach (Vida Health) to improve their recovery. Dr. Iltifat Husain, one of our editors, noted the following about the interesting partnership between pharmaceutical companies and digital health coaches:

The cost to use Vida is $45 per month or $249 per year. For AstraZeneca to pick up this cost is a huge deal. Compliance in post cardiac intervention care is critical for better outcomes. Having the ability to discharge a patient with a personal health coach who will help make sure your instructions are followed and your patient is actually following their new diet and medications is tremendous.The platform is currently unbranded, so patients won’t see the pharmaceutical company’s name anywhere in the service.

Now, results of the study are in and there are positive results:

Results of a new study by The Duke Clinical Research Institute and AstraZeneca show that medical apps and mobile technology may significantly increase physical activity in cardiac patients who suffered from acute myocardial infarction (MI). In previous studies, there has been a corollary associated with medicine adherence and reduced hospital stay with the “Patient Activation Measure (PAM).”

As we have reported on before, researchers gathered these results using Vida, a self-described “health coaching” app, that aims to be a digital version of team-based care facilities.

One of our editors, Dr. Steven Chan, did an in depth profile on Vida Health and talked to their co-founder, Dr. Connie Chen. Part health tracker, part FaceTime, part text messaging to your health care team, Vida users have around-the-clock access to health experts. Although Vida positions itself as a weight-loss/general well-being company on their website, the implications of this study show that community-based health apps may have a broad number of health-related applications.

Co-founder Stephanie Tilenius stated:

“To date, there has been little research on the acceptance and efficacy of using smartphones to deliver coaching and personalized support to post-acute myocardial infarction patients; this study demonstrates that patients can achieve improved outcomes with Vida’s coaching and content tailored specifically to their needs and delivered seamlessly through their mobile device.”

The four-week study used a sample of 21 participants (10 patient and 11 caregivers) 88 percent of whom were women with a mean age of 57. Participants on average engaged in one live video chat and opened the Vida app 5 times per week. They texted their caregivers over 24 times on average. After the four weeks, 80% of the participants agreed they would go to cardiac rehab after using the app compared to 25% percent of post-MI patients.

Obviously, more clinical trials with larger samples and greater data sets are needed to prove if apps like Vida make a difference in treating chronic diseases. In particular, it will be interesting to see if researchers release data on if medication compliance improved with Vida Health, as we’re sure AstraZeneca is probably very interested in this correlation.

Source: Vida Health Presents at 2016 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Peer-Reviewed Study Shows Positive Outcomes for Digital Health Coaching

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