Existing healthy lifestyle programs can be effective in the short term, but many people eventually relapse into their unhealthy behavioral patterns. A paradigm shift is needed in health behavior - one that aspires to make healthy living attractive, immediately gratifying and convenient in the short term thereby consolidating healthy living in the long term.
It plays a key role in preventing chronic diseases and in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The goal of this program is to create instructions on how to reach vulnerable groups and to create a customized integrated eHealth solution. An integrated program, such as the benefit for all program, rewards people for their healthy lifestyles. They get points for everything they do, including logging in to the app. Short-term success is not the main measure, it is the long term that counts. People can fall back, as long as they pick it up again. This integrated solution should also help people with multiple diseases by giving them one approach to use, instead of multiple apps.
Many people come into contact with eHealth while making an appointment with their dentist or doctor online, using a smartphone activity tracking app or taking heart rate measurements. eHealth is booming.
eHealth is about patient empowerment and is considered the future of health and well-being in our digital society.
"eHealth offers many solutions. However, there is a huge discrepancy between what is being developed and what is actually being used. Numbers indicate that the health gap between different socioeconomic groups is getting bigger. This is a large problem", says Andrea Evers, professor in health psychology at Leiden University. The eHealth technologies being developed mainly benefit those who know how to handle them.
In this Medical Delta program, the development of eHealth self-management solutions that are accessible for vulnerable groups is key. Vulnerable groups are difficult to reach and consist of people with a lower socioeconomic status (SES) or people with multiple diseases or comorbid diagnoses.
"Vulnerable groups do not have access to suitable solutions. It is important to learn more about how people can be motivated to adopt a healthy lifestyle. They need to be rewarded and encouraged in a different way; for example, a financial incentive is more important when targeting low SES groups”, says Evers
Data-driven prediction models
Data-driven prediction models using large data sets and machine learning will be used in this program to investigate what works best for whom, and why. Analyzing and interpreting the data will enable personalized solutions to show which people benefit most from which type of intervention.
The consortium includes researchers at Leiden University, LUMC, TU Delft and Erasmus MC working in collaboration. Researchers at these institutes excel in eHealth research, behavior change and smart technology solutions, and they are able to translate science into clinical applications.
All consortium partners actively participate in the Netherlands eHealth Living Lab (NeLL).