Without A Coach, Fitness Data No Help Says Omada

Wellness trackers are little value if we’re not doing anything with that data. Tech only solutions are failing to deliver on outcomes – especially when it comes to chronic diseases like diabetes prevention.

That’s according to Omada Health, a bleeding edge startup developing a tele-health program that combines technology and human coaching.

Omada Health is an evidence-based curriculum developed by CDC that has been shown to reduce the likelihood of progressing to diabetes by 58%.

Health trackers like Fitbit were supposed to drive a new wellness revolution. And big tech players like Apple are stepping into the fray with a slew of fitness and health apps, that promise to make us better.

But Omada Health’s patient data suggests that pings and alerts aren’t enough.

Decades of research in behavioral science shows that building the confidence to make and sustain changes requires consistent human support from real people.

Omada found in one clinical trial that a higher rate of social engagement with peers and discussions, led to a higher rate of lasting changes even three years after the program. In a three year outcome diabetes prevention program (DPP) patients who participated in group discussions more frequently saw the biggest health benefits.

Omada’s digital therapeutics program for chronic disease includes a variety of human and tech touch points. Each participant is paired with a professional health coach, who provides encouragement. Users get a connected health device (a smart scale to calculate BMI), and can log on to the online community for accountability.

With more than 200,000 users, Omada is trying to understand when an automated nudge is sufficient, and when a message is better delivered by a real person.

A person can be prediabetic for between seven and ten years before a formal diabetes diagnosis, according a 2017 Swedish study published in the online journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Omada is based on the simple idea that data from wearable health devices with no coach is no help.