Columbus, OH – Last month, The Journal of the American Heart Association published the results of a mHealth intervention study. The study was small (48 outpatients), but the results have big implications that will undoubtedly impact future studies and the way brands approach their mHealth devices.

The clinical trial looked into whether activity tracking and texting interventions among smartphone users aged 18-69 would improve physical activity. Participants in one segment received an activity tracker along with automated, personalized texts that offered users positive reinforcement 3 times a day, while the second segment received only an activity tracker. The study found that the group who received texts increased their activity by 25%, while the segment without did not see any significant change.

The conclusion drawn from the results is that mHealth devices should be thought of as facilitators, not drivers, of behavior change. Just showing the device data did not significantly modify behavior, but coupling with the smart texts did. When developing mHealth programs and platforms, incorporating behavior change drivers should be a priority. Our 2016 Health Trends report reported on a few ways that companies are beginning to drive real behavior change, and as mHealth devices continue to struggle with commitment rates (over 50% of users stop using these devices quickly), we expect to see more features like these accompany their data tracking.


Click here to see the full study results:

About the Author:

Jeffrey Giermek