Fighting Nature and Connected Health

A few weeks back I wrote a post that outlined why social media adoption has been slow in Rx/Dx companies. One of the primary reasons, I believe, is that behavior is very difficult to change. Essentially, people only change for two primary reasons:

1. Consequence
2. To identify

Both are really rooted in fear. There will be a negative consequence or to fit in (or be left out).

I find it interesting that this simple premise can be applied to any number of challenges we face. Whether it's driving social media or in the case of what I want to posit is connected health care.

There is an interesting article in Men's Health magazine this month about obesity, which I recommend. The article has some interesting insights into the mechanics behind why as a nation we're the fattest in the world. Essentially, the author puts forth the notion that until there is a negative consequence that people will not change their behavior because fat and sweet foods are too cheap, plentiful and satisfying.

He suggests a number of ways to elevate the consequence in order to modify behavior such as tax increases, greater personal responsibility and exercise.

That all sounds good, but what caught my attention was this passage as it relates to a city in Massachusetts who has set out to fight obesity and change the health of their city.

"Our goal is not to tell you what to eat," he says. "Our goal is not to tell you how to act. Our goal is to develop systems that give you the best choices, and make those choices easier for you." Despite the vast scale of the change, he says, the important thing is to make sure "every step you take, all your strategic attacks, are aligned to this overall goal," which he likes to sum up in a phrase: "Eat smart, play hard."

As it relates to connected health care, I've been active and involved for some time and have blogged about it extensively, and have outlined what I see as the big issues facing connected health care. First and foremost is that it is complex, there is little incentive for the end-user and systemic change takes a long time. If you truly want to see change, you have to persist, strategically attack and incentivize.

It makes me ask the question: What is being done to create opportunities and choices that make it easier? In a world where there is growing fragmentation and complexity it seems that all the effort is on developing products and solutions that will have a cost. When the lever that needs to be pulled is demand creation and the incentive to adopt on all fronts.

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