One Year Later And The Tip Of The Iceberg
At Better Therapeutics, we are developing new types of treatments for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions, powerful enough to reverse disease and displace many commonly prescribed medications. Our treatments, we call them digital therapeutics, are intensive diet and lifestyle interventions that combine specialized clinician support, with digital tools, predictive analytics and a skill-building curriculum that enables life-long changes.
Our success requires both short-term clinical effectiveness and long-term sustainment of new lifestyle practices that permeate all areas of an individual’s life.
In May 2016, we launched a pilot study comprised of an early version of our digital therapeutic, and in February 2017, we shared the results of that study.
We are now approaching the one year anniversary of the completion of that pilot and we are fortunate enough to continue to track and engage some our earliest members. Many of these members not only achieved great results during the pilot, but continue to experience the lasting impact of making important lifestyle changes.
We’re excited to share two of these stories: Stacey, 47, from Ohio and Michelle, 55, from Wisconsin.
Reversing disease and saying goodbye to pill containers
With a long-standing family history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, Stacey never really thought twice about the number of medications she took on a daily basis to manage these conditions. It was simply a part of her daily life and likely would have remained that way forever.
However, in less than a year, Stacey’s blood pressure is within normal range for the first time in her adult life and both her Lisinopril (for high blood pressure) and Simvastatin (for high cholesterol) doses have been cut in half. A recent visit with her physician revealed that complete freedom from these medications is expected within the next few months. She’s also lost over 60 lbs, and reports never feeling as good as she does today.
“To be the healthiest I can be now that I am approaching 50 is important,” she said. “I know now that the choices I am making are helping in that endeavour.”
Michelle joined Better with complaints of debilitating acid reflux and daily migraines. Together, these conditions limited her ability to exercise, perform her best in her job, and simply enjoy life.
“I used to take Advil and Tums everyday, all day,” she said. “I would stock them like a squirrel, but, I couldn’t even tell you where those bottles are today. I haven’t used them since I started the program.”
The domino effect
What continues to stand out is really just how far-reaching the benefits of the program are in both Stacey and Michelle’s lives. From their professional lives to their personal lives, changes put in place during the program go far beyond what might be expected.
Through her participation in the pilot program, Stacey realized that stress was triggering many of her unhealthy behaviors, a realization that came in her discussions with her health coach. When she had tight deadlines at work, she would opt for fast food without even thinking about it. Her health coach helped her identify meals that would be fast and easy to put together, replacing the quick-fix urge with healthier options.
She is also a primary caregiver to her elderly mother, spending hours each day in her company. Before Better, the stress of this responsibility made it difficult to take care of herself and she would often slip back into unhealthy habits. However, within the last year, even as her role as caregiver hasn’t changed – and has actually become more intensive – the skills gained during her Better experience, such as customizing her meals at restaurants and learning to recognize healthier menu options, have carried her through difficult times.
For Michelle, the act of establishing a Sunday routine of grocery shopping and preparing her meals for the week ahead has been the key to her long-term success.
“I commit to doing all my shopping and meal prep on Sunday so that way I’m not going to make a mistake and stop at a gas station or a fast food restaurant because I’m not prepared,” she said. “So I commit myself to Sunday and that is probably the biggest thing I learned from the program.”
One year and beyond
At Better, we know that these outcomes, both the quantifiable metrics – such a medication reduction, blood pressure normalizing, and weight loss – as well as the qualitative metrics are a testament to a program designed to teach, enable, and empower people to succeed far beyond the intervention period.
We also see two women who are energetic and spirited for the first time in decades. They are more engaged and empathetic in their work and personal lives and continue to maintain and implement new healthy routines that easily become just a part of their normal lives.
These are the outcomes of two women after just one year. Imagine what might be possible in ten.