February 26, 2012

eIntervene with a Friend

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Web based interventions increase success with social ties

(dailyRx News) If you're contemplating an eHealth intervention, new research suggests you're better off doing it with a friend.

Medical health experts from from MeYou Health, a company set on improving daily personal well-being, discovered that web-based interventions done with friends have more success than those pursued alone.

"Interested in an internet health intervention? Join with a friend!"

Josee Poirer, Ph.D., and Nathan Cobb, M.D, authors on the study, explain, " Our initial findings are higher engagement in participants with social ties in the program and are consistent with the view that social influence can drive engagement in a web-based health intervention."

The researchers uncovered their findings observing participation data from 84,828 Web-based intervention users. The subscribers engaged in MeYou Health's "Daily Challenge," calling participants to commit themselves to one healthy action each day. Participation was compiled by monitoring email opens, site visits, and the completion of each challenge.

Using accepted statistic models, the team compared the engagement levels of members with social ties against those with no friends on the network, and findings indicated that subscribers participating alone opened less emails, visited the site less often, and completed less daily challenge activities.

"Participants interacted with the intervention more often if they had social ties, despite the fact that having social ties does not affect a member’s ability to perform the actions studied or the reward received for each action," the authors explain.

"The improvement in engagement was substantial: for instance, social participants reported completing an average of 11.0 challenges over 30 days, whereas nonsocial participants reported 6.1 challenge completions for the same period."

To increases chances of success in emerging eHealth interventions, this research suggests tackling the next online feat with a friend.

MeYou Health funded the study, reporting conflicts of interest for both authors as employees of the company. The research is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.  

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
February 24, 2012

Last Updated:
February 26, 2012