Akhila Satish, founder and CEO of CyberDoctor, believes in behavioral change through reflection. CyberDoctor just released their newest product, an app called PatientPartner. Fascinated by the connection between communication and science, Akhila wanted to bridge the communication gap between consumers and doctors. In her words, “We are all patients and we are all continuously patients. PatientPartner is not just an application you use when you are unhealthy, in fact we urge you to use it when you are healthy, so that you can strengthen your health awareness skill set.”
PatientPartner is composed of a series of short narrative games that take a user through another person’s life and asks them how that character would handle certain tasks and situations. Then the app asks the user to answer those same questions regarding their own actions. The app takes all these answers and analyzes the users’ selections to give personalized feedback on how the user can improve his/her health.
In recent clinical trials, patients with diabetes who used PatientPartner improved their medication management, exercise habits and eating habits. The app is not disease specific, as Akhila states, “Everything in the app is universal – we are teaching people how to think about general habits. Questions in the app can also be linked to topics beyond health, such as money and spending habits.” I asked Akhila why they decided to do clinical tests – an intensive approach that many app makers skip. She responded, “There are 40,000 apps in the app store, so to differentiate, we have to show that we are an app that is not just fun to play with, but also clinically proven to change behavior – clinically proven to work. We are measuring biological responses and running a trial makes it easier to see if users adhere to medication intake and diet changes, becoming healthier overall.”
What does Akhila hope for? “We want to get PatientPartner out to millions of people. When we looked at the clinical trial data, we actually thought it would be ethically wrong if we did not release it to the public because we want everyone to have access to it.” PatientPartner gives you two scenarios for free. Then, for the price of a latte, you can unlock additional scenarios and features, including access to a prescription drug coupon (up to 45% off on medications), and earn points redeemable for gift cards and other prizes.