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The Consumer-Centric Health: Models for Change conference featured more than 20 presentations on all facets of health behavior change.  The presenters represented diverse fields of medicine, employer health, mobile technology, health insurance, gaming, public health, research, and anthropology.  The 1½ day conference, held at Seattle University in Seattle, Washington, began with an opening keynote on Oct 12, with the main sessions on Oct 13, divided into three sections (1) what’s working in behavior change; (2) how to scale behavior change; and (3) what else is needed to make behavior change more effective and sustainable.

A written summary of the conference presentations is available for download.

Common themes that surfaced were:

(1) Consumer and patient activation: while the term was referred to in quite different contexts, it was unanimous that becoming activated, from acquiring a basic knowledge of the cost of care to actually taking on accountable self-care roles, resulted in more favorable health choices and outcomes.  Speakers noted numerous activation triggers, everything from benefit plan design, financial incentives and cultures of health to coaching and self-tracking to social networking and gamification.

(2) Self-awareness raising: many speakers talked about the need for people to more objectively view their health conditions and goals as a precursor to behavior change.  Motivational Interviewing, cognitive behavioral and mindfulness techniques were most often mentioned as awareness raising tools used to lay the foundation for essential motivation, self-efficacy and capability components of change.

(3) Social context: an individual’s social environment was portrayed as both an inhibitor and accelerator of change, especially through increasingly technology-enabled social networking.  However, low-tech approaches that mobilize families, co-workers, informal caregivers and lay helpers can also be very influential.

(4) Personalized interventions: the value of tailoring interventions based on individual characteristics was a consistent thread, as was the need to customize beyond just “outer ring” demographic and health status attributes.  The notion of “deep” tailoring based on a person’s core values was raised several times as an important future direction for sustained behavior change.

(5) Mobile technology: emerging technologies, especially mobile phones and applications, were noted as cost-effective enablers for spurring activation, raising awareness, leveraging the social context and providing a platform for personalization and self-support.  The ability of mobile to enable continuous and adaptive interventions that leverage compressed feedback cycles and lower-touch professional supervision was also noted.

(6) Positive states of being: there was general agreement that the challenge of behavior change is more likely to be met when an individual is experiencing positive emotional states.  A number of presenters referred to the importance of helping patients and clients to reach states of calm or flourishing because under these conditions healthy behavior becomes a natural by product.  Some speakers saw opportunities for technology to help enable and encourage these states, from Facebook applications to mobile apps to social games.

Videos and slides for each presentation are available on 2011 Videos & Slides page.

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