New game app improves adherence among diabetes patients, study finds
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A new mobile game app designed by CyberDoctor showed improvements in medication adherence, diet and exercise in diabetes patients, according to a study.
The company said that breakthrough clinical trial results for the game, called PatientPartner," documented for the first time the effectiveness of a story-driven game in changing health behavior and biomarkers. The study was conducted among 100 nonadherence patients at Hershey, Pa.-based Pinnacle Health Systems and presented at the Health2.0 Conference Wednesday in Santa Clara, Calif.
According to the study, medication adherence among patients using the game increased from 58% to 95%, equivalent to three additional days of adherence per week. Meanwhile, diet and exercise adherence respectively increased by 24% and 14%, all contributing to a decrease in blood sugar levels from 10.7% to 9.7%.
"The findings are significant because this is an independent, [institutional review board]-approved clinical trial proving that PatientPartner can dramatically improve patient health," CyberDoctor CEO Akhila Satish said. "While there are many health apps available today, this clinical trial proves that a single, 15-minute use of our app actually impacts patient behavior and biological measures, and at a consistently higher level than previous adherence interventions."
PatientPartner is a short, narrative game in which patients choose a character and make decisions for the character, and then as themselves. The game analyzes how they make these decisions and offers patients targeted feedback. Patients then can play sophisticated training modules to learn how to make better choices. The game is based on validated theories of behavioral change and decision making derived from scientific theories applicable to all people and diseases. According to a 2005 National Institutes of Health study, medication nonadherence causes 125,000 deaths per year in the United States, while a widely cited New England Healthcare Institute study from 2009 estimates the annual cost of nonadherence at nearly $300 billion.
"As a physician who has seen the terrible effects of nonadherence on patients in my own practice, I am tremendously encouraged by the clinical trial results for PatientPartner," CyberDoctor board member Mantosh Dewan said. "Because PatientPartner is not connected to a doctor electronic medical record, this easy-to-use, scalable application can reach more patients in a fast, inexpensive way and create longer-lasting results than most other methods."