Omada Health, one of the U.S.’s original virtual healthcare providers, today announced the creation of the Omada Insights Lab.
“The Insights Lab is an approach to product development that leverages multidisciplinary teams to rapidly look at what does and does not work in a digital care setting and then scale those tools within the company,” Sean Duffy, co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch.
Omada offers care management for diabetes, musculoskeletal issues, preventative health, hypertension and behavioral health. Its main differentiator from other virtual healthcare providers is the amount of handholding it offers to its patients, which in turn has shown to deliver better health outcomes. Through the Insights Lab, it plans to share insights to help improve care outcomes across the industry.
“A shared sense of commitment with an Omada care professional increases the likelihood of a better outcome by 250%,” Duffy said.
One tactic Omada uses to keep patients on track is the “nudge.”
Like your Apple watch that tells you when to stand up or breathe, the Omada app can remind its diabetes patients to have a meal and to measure their blood sugar, for example. If you’re thinking, “Yeah, but I often ignore my Apple watch,” you’re not alone. The company has also noticed that passive nudges aren’t as successful as a comprehensive and proactive approach to care, especially one that involves human interaction. As a result, the Omada doctors have made changes to their care delivery.
Here’s an example: The Lab wanted to find out how to help their diabetes prevention patients lose weight — being overweight is a key indicator of developing diabetes. They looked at the automated nudges, reminders to track meals, mealtime push notifications and engagement with the care team.
While all of the approaches made it more likely that people would track their meals — an important task that helps patients stay on track with their diets — only one drove increases in weight loss: engagement with the care team. They found that patients who interact with their care team or community in the first week of the program are 24% more likely to achieve their health goals and patients who message their care teams are twice as likely to achieve positive health outcomes.
Consequentially, Duffy said, “It’s not just engagement that matters, it’s the type of engagement.”
Omada took these insights and reduced the use of nudges and implemented ways for the care team to interact with the patients more.
While Omada is already using the more than a billion data points it’s recorded from 450,000 members in the company’s 10 years of business to improve its own tools, with the launch of the Lab, the company also plans to share the data and strategies with the broader medical community through content on its website and other outlets.
Because the company is only virtual, it prides itself on the amount — and quality — of its data.
“It’s so hard to measure small details in in-person settings, but with digital, you can measure everything,” Duffy said. “Everything people are doing in the app are connected to meaningful outcomes,” he added.