Each year, more than fifty-million people leave doctors’ offices with instructions to take medications, change their eating habits, or exercise more and reduce stress; however, fewer than half follow their doctor’s orders.

The result is preventable readmissions, skyrocketing health costs, and unnecessarily poor quality of life for millions of people.

A man, age 50, is leaving the hospital after being treated for heart failure. He has high cholesterol, is overweight and is pre-diabetic. His doctor explains that he needs to make immediate life changes that include diet, exercise, medications, and stress. He is sent home with instructions to come back for periodic check-ups. Unfortunately, 6 months later, little has changed. Ted Kinney, Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology, explains,

“Every part of this interaction is set up for failure. No one is considering the psychology of behavior change.”

He says that the most likely scenario is that the patient will enter a cycle in which he will initially try to change his behavior, face failure, reduce his effort, fail again and then go back to his previous lifestyle. Research in this field shows that most people find behavior change extremely difficult. Just ask someone who loves steak, pasta, and beer to start eating salads with fat free dressing. Ask a smoker to stop smoking or a workaholic to relax more. In all cases, lasting change is hit or miss. Dr. Kinney says,

“You cannot overestimate how difficult it is to change behavior, especially when that change is something a person considers unpleasant. Understanding the human psyche is the secret sauce to long lasting behavior change.”

What factors drive sustained behavior change?

Researchers at Select International, a psychometric testing firm that focuses on predicting behavior, state that the following factors drive change:

  • Readiness quotient
  • Individualized consideration
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Incremental success ratios
  • Visual feedback
  • Social accountability
  • Expectations resets
  • Activity reminders
  • Secure learning

What if we could combine psychology with technology?

What if we could build the psychology of behavior change into an intelligent virtual assistant that is with you 24/7?

True Image Interactive has developed the world’s first Human Avatar Health Coach, an Intelligent Virtual Assistant that combines health monitoring technology, predictive analytics, and the psychology of behavior change to help patients manage their own health. Each of the critical variables listed above are seamlessly integrated into an interactive patient experience that is accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device.

And unlike limited “medication reminder technology,” the avatar health coach interacts conversationally with patients — just like a person — to answer questions, send medication and appointment reminders, monitor vital stats, and help to coordinate a patient’s entire care team, all while gathering and reporting data to continually improve care.

Sounds complicated. Can anyone use it?

The moment you say hello to your avatar health coach, you’re ready to go. Your physician identifies and can customize protocol content, programs, and needed modules. All of this happens by talking to your interactive health coach. Behind the scenes, your health data (vital signs, medication compliance, diet, sleep, and exercise) is cross-referenced using medical algorithms to predict problems and guide your progress. With your consent, your physicians’ office sees and tracks your progress and alerts you to problematic trends before they become significant health issues.

Human Avatar Technology is the evolution of intelligent virtual assistants.

People relate to people, not computers — so our human avatars harness the power of human interaction to provide invaluable motivational reinforcement, empowering and engaging patients with interactive communication and driving lasting behavior change.