Bringing together patients' perspectives on eHealth and mHealth

Carrot Rewards – Support for Lifestyle App

Canadian patient organisations support lifestyle rewards app – Carrot Rewards 

Three patient groups and charities supported the Public Health Agency in Canada in developing an app to reward healthy behaviours call Carrot Rewards:

  • Diabetes Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the YMCA of Canada are all partners supporting the app
  • The app developers worked with other partners including regional government and the national Public Health Agency of Canada, and loyalty reward scheme providers
  • User research over 3 months showed high participation rates, with participants rewarded for completing health education activities.
Rewarding lifestyle change

All governments and public health authorities struggle with encouraging lifestyle change. An app in Canada is starting to demonstrate that sustained lifestyle changes could depend on behavioural economics – including tangible economic rewards to influence lifestyle choices.

Carrot Insights inc, the team behind the app, pulled together a practical mix of stakeholders, including:

  • Patient groups and charities, including Diabetes Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the YMCA of Canada
  • the Public Health Agency of Canada, and government in British Colombia, Newfoundland Labrador and Ontario
  • loyalty reward scheme providers.

The app promotes healthy behaviour change by giving individuals rewards when they complete surveys, quizzes and learning activities about how to lead healthier lives. When the user builds up enough points they convert these into economic rewards, including contributions to flights, hotels, movies, and fuel.

Patient and charity group support

Patient organisation and charity support and endorsement is put centre stage, for example:

“Diabetes Canada is proud to have partnered in the development of the Carrot Rewards app.”

“YMCA Canada is proud to collaborate on this innovative approach to motivating Canadians to lead healthier, active lifestyles.” 

– Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO of YMCA Canada

Evaluating the app

Research evaluating the app’s use over three months in British Columbia (BC), concluded that:

  • “Regarding participation, 60.05% (34,761) of users were classified as “very high” engagers (>75% quiz completion rate).”
  • “Early results suggest that loyalty points may promote mHealth app uptake. The app was downloaded by younger females especially, and BC residents from higher and lower income regions were equally represented. Loyalty points appear to have driven participation throughout the inaugural 3-month period (ie, quiz completion).”

Commenting on the research, a clinical advisor to the developer reflected on the participation rate:

“Technologies that are engaging and can help change behaviours, like the Carrot Rewards app, can potentially reduce the burden of chronic diseases… Compared to other health apps, this had high and sustained engagement, setting the stage for the next phase of using the app to reward healthy behaviours”

– Dr. Paul Oh, advisor to Carrot Insights andMedical Director, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network.

Looking to the future, the aim is to extend the app’s reach nationwide across Canada and expand its functionality.

NEXT STEPS:

See the myhealthapps.net review of the app, and links to the app…

Click here

Download the initial evaluation research on the app…

Click here

Read the developer’s comment on the initial evaluation…

Click here

 



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