Promoting behavioral change
to establish healthy habits

It’s a fact.


More than 70 million Americans ages 50 and older—that’s four out of five older adults—suffer from at least one chronic health condition1 including:


  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory diseases


By 2020, the mortality, morbidity, and disability attributed to major chronic diseases will account for 73% of all deaths and 60% of the global burden of disease2. That begs the question, how are we going to manage chronic disease and what role does consumer technology play to ease this burden?


When we talk about managing many chronic diseases, we’re talking about behavioral change – positive, incremental lifestyle adjustments that may help prevent the slide toward a chronic condition. There is strong evidence that if each person takes modest steps to ensure their daily habits are healthy/healthier, they can be successful. Pre-diabetics, for example, that lose just 5-10% of body weight, and keep it off for 9 months, can dramatically reduce the risk of developing diabetes 10 years down the road3.

Health watch


Health watches are just one of the components used to help consumers track their health.

If we can continue to engage people to establish healthy habits, then we can really have a positive effect on population health."

Dr. Mark Aloia

Global Lead for Behavior Change, Philips

It’s people science


“Technology doesn’t change behavior – people change behavior,” says Dr. Mark Aloia, Global Lead for Behavior Change at Philips. “This is really ‘people science’. Although our roots are in traditional medical device manufacturing, our intent is to apply our clinical expertise to consumer technology for the benefit of the individual – to empower the person who knows they need to actively manage their own health. Any time we connect devices, and connect people with their data, our intention is to help them make positive change.”


A shift in technology from assistive to empowering devices must rely heavily on a person’s willingness to take a proactive role in managing their health. This is behavioral change.


But people who face the need for change require the proper context in which to make that change and to break from unhealthy habits and non-adherence to treatments. This is where smart technology comes into play.


The efficacy of behavioral change


The concept of smart technology that instills positive behavioral change is broadly relevant to many aspects of personal health.


Consider that sleep apnea and sleep disorders can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression4. While treatment with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy is effective, adherence to treatment is often poor5. Patients don’t always remember the instructions and miss the encouragement they had during face-to-face appointments.


We discovered that a supportive website and personalized sleep apnea app can be effective enablers of behavioral change – especially if these tools engage patients with their therapy experience, connect them to information about sleep apnea and therapy equipment, and provide actionable techniques for dealing with their therapy. In our study of more than 15,000 patients, those using this solution achieved a 78% adherence rate based upon the CMS guidelines (compared to a 56% adherence rate to those who did not use it). That’s an improvement of more than 20%6/7.


There are other instances where users of smart technology can influence common health concerns.


  • Poor tooth and gum health invites periodontal disease, which can exacerbate existing heart conditions8. Personalized coaching with the right Bluetooth connected electric toothbrush teaches users to become more aware of consistently missed areas and helps them develop better brushing habits.  
  • Reducing the intake of heavily fried foods without giving up taste and texture is a consideration for healthier eating. Innovations that enable frying, baking, roasting, and grilling with a tablespoon or less of oil – without compromising flavor – can provide the peace of mind that each meal will be fast, delicious, and healthier.


Encoding healthy decisions


Behavioral change starts with a change in mindset. The Future Health Index, an international research report on global health challenges9, suggests that, “Through providing encouragement, information, and even scolding an effective device will help encode intuition in us so that eventually we won’t need the device to make healthy decisions.”


A medical device designed to alter behavior should aim to become unneeded, once the change has occurred. In giving consumers access to their own data through smart technology, they can feel a sense of control and can better manage their health. In this fashion, change of habit becomes simplified and sustainable.


Personal health programs


Helping people stay well longer means tapping into expertise, learnings, successes, people, and technology across businesses and disciplines. This realization has given rise to a holistic health management proposition: The Personal Health Program.


Personal health programs are designed to empower consumers to establish healthy habits, especially those struggling with chronic disease. Our behavioral change-based personal health program include our connected health measurement devices, an easy-to-use personalized app, and a secure, cloud-based data analysis platform.


Medical devices offered as part of the program include:


Programs like these give patients who use these devices the reassurance they need to take the right steps toward behavioral change that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Through providing encouragement, information, and even scolding, an effective device will help encode intuition in us so that eventually we won’t need the device to make healthy decisions."

-The Future Health Index, 2016

Keeping people motivated


At Philips, we look at technology that surrounds us today and ask ourselves, how can we improve upon this to help people stay motivated to manage their personal health? By promoting behavioral change, we are constantly redefining the shape of healthcare.


“We want to move into a future that is ever more sophisticated,” says Dr. Aloia, “and we are working with some of the best behavior change opinion leaders in the world to make this happen. If we can continue to engage people to establish healthy habits, then we can really have a positive effect on population health.”

1 AARP, Chronic Conditions Among Older Americans,, accessed 7/25/16

2 WHO: The World Health Report 2002 “Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life”

3 ADA, The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP),, accessed 7/25/16

4 CDC, Sleep and Sleep Disorders/Sleep and Chronic Disease,, accessed 7/26/16

5 Sawyer, A.M., et. al., A Systematic Review of CPAP Adherence Across Age Groups: Clinical and Empiric Insights for Developing CPAP Adherence Interventions, National Institute of Health, published as Sleep Med Rev. 2011 December; 15(6): 343–356 doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.01.003

6 Hardy, William, RRT, et. al., SleepMapper–A mobile application and website to engage sleep apnea patients in PAP therapy and improve adherence to treatment, ©2014 KoninklijkePhilips N.V., edocSB 04/21/14 MCI 4106144

7 In a retrospective review conducted by Philips Respironics of approximately 15,000 System One patients, patients who used SleepMapper, which has been rebranded DreamMapper, demonstrated 22% greater adherence to the therapy than patients who did not use SleepMapper. To see which therapy devices are compatible with DreamMapper, visit

8 American Academy of Periodontology, Gum Disease and Heart Disease,, accessed 7/26/16

9 Commissioned by Philips

Improving lives for a 
healthier society


Andrea | Spinal and respiratory

conditions | Boxer



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