Do Health Apps Really Make Us Healthier?
— May 7, 2021
By Anindya Ghose
This first-of-its-kind study uses data from major stakeholders (digital app platforms, hospitals, clinics, doctors, nutritionists, pharmacists, and so on) to examine whether emerging mHealth technologies effectively persuade people to modify their lifestyles and thereby reduce hospital visits and medical expenses over time. The relatively new area of mHealth includes mobile computing, medical sensor, and communications technologies used for health care services (e.g., managing chronic diseases). mHealth applications can operate on smart phones, tablets, sensors, and cloud-based computing systems, all of which collect health data on individuals.
In partnership with a major mHealth app platform in Asia, we designed and implemented a large-scale randomized field experiment based on detailed patient lifestyle activities (e.g., steps walked, exercise time and calories spent, sleeping patterns, and food quality and quantity) and blood glucose values from chronic diabetes patients over a 15-month time frame. The randomization involved some patients having access to the mHealth app, some having access to web-based version of the app, and the rest (the control group) not having access to any of these apps or devices.
Read the full Harvard Business Review article.
Anindya Ghose is Heinz Riehl Professor of Business