Stanford Conference: Changing Deep Seated Behaviors to Improve Population Health

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Stanford Conference: Changing Deep Seated Behaviors to Improve Population Health

MassineBoecker CEO cites need to address psychological, emotional and social factors

By Mike Allen – President, Mobile Health Marketplace LLC

At the recent Health Technology Forum conference held at Stanford University, Dirk Boecker, MD PhD, CEO of MassineBoecker participated in the panel How Patient Analytics are Changing Care Dynamics. Moderated by Nick Andersen, Ph.D. and Director of informatics Research, UC Davis, the panel included Dr. Boecker, Alex Jaimes, Ph.D. CTO and Chief Scientist at AICure, Sam Shekar, MD, CMO, Northrop Grumman and Paul Tuten, Ph.D., SVP of Product, Quantros.

Dr. Boecker pointed out that while the health industry’s current focus on creating, analyzing and using the massive amounts of data made available by EHRs is a step in the right direction, this focus must be broadened to include information on the psychological, emotional and social factors needed to engage patients in real change and adoption of health behaviors. Below, he elaborates on his observations made in the panel discussion.

You pointed out that most patient analytics have a limited impact on patient treatment. Can you elaborate?

The profession is heavily focused on creating and analyzing new research databases, improving interoperability between platforms, developing new devices and giving patients and physicians more access to their medical data. This is all very important for evaluating risk, lowering cost and managing patient activities but it does not move us ahead in the real key area to improving health – getting people to change deep-seated, often destructive behaviors. This change only happens when we approach people holistically as persons – not just patients – and engage them in a deep, personalized way that helps them to overcome barriers to treatment and take ownership of their own health. To achieve this long-term change, we need information that is not found in the EMR or through the internet of things. We need information on the person’s psycho-emotional profile.

How can we engage patients on a deep, personalized basis?  

People know the consequences of destructive behaviors such as overeating, lack of exercise, substance abuse and non-compliance with treatment regimens yet despite this cognitive knowledge, they are unable to change and adopt healthy lifestyles. The reason is that only 5% to 15% of human decision making is based on conscious, cognitive processes. In other words: Knowing what’s good for me doesn’t necessarily make me pursue it. To achieve sustainable behavior change, we need to help individuals to improve the 85% to 95% of those decisions – better choices –which are rooted in intuitive, subconscious neuronal processes.

How do you help patients change deep-seated thought processes and behavior?

At MassineBoecker, we accomplish this through the combination of (1) a unique, validated, psycho-emotional assessment that identifies each individual’s subconscious motivators and barriers to treatment; and (2) through the application of our rule based algorithms that generate a personalized intervention plan. This adaptive plan engages at the appropriate level and evolves as the person’s behavior or situation changes over time. Some of the learning opportunities that we provide include online groups, tools to facilitate individual introspection, text and email reminders, video training and access to a curated set of mobile apps – all targeted to the specific emotional and social needs of the individual.

What is an example of how personalized interventions can be used to improve health?

At a smoking cessation program that was experiencing a very high dropout rate, our proprietary assessments showed that this population had a low propensity to use their logical, cognitive abilities as compared to norms for non-smokers.

However, the health organization’s outreach program was trying to engage this population in an ineffective way – by appealing at the cognitive level with scientific evidence that demonstrated the negative consequences of smoking. We revamped the program by making a much more emotional appeal that addressed the emotional barriers to treatment and deep-seated needs of smokers identified by our assessment tool. The result was significant improvements in both dropout rates and cessation.

How does your approach differ from other programs?

Most current population management programs address important but surface level issues – how do I use my insulin pump? When do I take my medications? What signs should I look for that might signal relapse and a need to go back to the hospital? While we also provide this type of cognitive education, we focus our support towards types of interactions that load, engage and change the subconscious decision making neuronal systems. Our support modules include online support groups, personalized text and email messages, individualized presentation and search for information, and access to curated mobile apps – all geared to help individuals to a better and happier place.

About MassineBoecker

MassineBoecker’s MAIKEVILLE population management platform uses proprietary, scientifically validated, psychological profiling tools to define and guide personalized interventions. With its adaptive low cost, high touch support realizes sustained engagement over the long haul. A new MAIKEVILLE patient starts with a short psychological survey that identifies his or her subconscious decision processes and behavioral barriers to a healthier lifestyle. Next, the system generates a personalized support plan. Then, most importantly, continuous support is provided to guide the patient in achieving long-term health gains.

MassineBoecker operates its business through two locations in Palo Alto, CA and Berlin, Germany. The company is privately held and has proven its approach through several projects with top tier payers and customers in pharma, diagnostics, and with mail order pharmacies. The company is led by an internationally experienced management team and benefits from industry leading advisors.

About HTF (Health Technology Forum)

HTF is a platform for people worldwide who have a common interest in making healthcare better, more accessible and affordable. Our international network of technology and healthcare entrepreneurs, developers, regulators, and providers are advancing the pace of healthcare innovation by engaging in exciting and productive dialogue between experts in healthcare.

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