Teladoc Research: AI-powered nudges can improve diabetes patients’ engagement

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the healthcare landscape, particularly in chronic disease management. Teladoc Health's recent research highlights the significant role AI-powered "nudges" can play in enhancing diabetes management programs.

These nudges lead to higher engagement and better health outcomes for members, according to new data presented at the American Diabetes Association's 84th Scientific Sessions.

How does it work?

Telehealth provider Teladoc Health conducted two studies to evaluate the impact of AI in diabetes management. The first study focused on personalized health nudges, which were notifications sent to members' mobile devices to encourage better self-monitoring of type 2 diabetes. The results showed a clear connection between these nudges and improved clinical outcomes, with a 3X increase in engagement leading to a 0.4 reduction in A1c levels for targeted members.

"What's exciting about machine learning models is that it's just helping us be smarter at how we should engage with members in our program and turn those touchpoints into being more successful ones," said Dr. Tejaswi Kompala, an endocrinologist at Teladoc.

In the second study, personalized next-best actions were incorporated into members' weekly emails, significantly increasing their likelihood of engaging with health coaches. These actions were based on predictive models analyzing members' engagement with Teladoc's services.

Why does it matter?

The ability of AI to forecast and manage diabetes is crucial for early detection and personalized intervention, helping to avoid complications and improve outcomes. Improved clinical outcomes also help employers and health plans control costs related to chronic conditions.

As Dr. Kompala stated, "Digital interventions like ours can help to augment care," highlighting the balance between technology and the human touch.

"Teladoc Health has a long-standing history of successfully using data to improve health outcomes for our members, and new applications of AI are helping us accelerate our impact," added Sal Shafiq, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Teladoc Health.

The context

Teladoc Health has been in the market for 20 years. Its expansion into chronic condition management was bolstered by the acquisition of Livongo in 2020, integrating Livongo's data-driven solutions with Teladoc's telehealth capabilities. The company now offers comprehensive programs for diabetes management, hypertension, diabetes prevention, and weight management, serving 1.1 million members, a number that continues to grow.

Teladoc Health's innovative use of AI in diabetes management underscores the potential of technology to transform healthcare. By leveraging AI-powered nudges and personalized interventions, the company is setting new standards in chronic disease management — promising a future where technology and human touch work hand-in-hand to improve patient outcomes.

"We're continuing to think about 'How do we give people really personalized guidance that will be meaningful to them?'," said Dr. Kompala. "I'm excited to see where the future heads. This is just the beginning, our first steps into understanding and seeing how artificial intelligence and machine learning can really be employed effectively within the context of a digital health program like ours. I think there's a lot of exciting opportunities ahead."


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