TriHealth grant/partnership hopes to accelerate behavior change toward healthy habits

TriHealth has announced a partnership with Seattle-based Habit Design, Inc., the first company ever awarded a National Institutes of Health research grant to advance the emerging science of habit coaching. Together, with the University of Washington, they will conduct the first clinical trial of any behavior-change program to accelerate new healthy habits. 

Researchers and health coaches from TriHealth and the University of Washington will train and support more than 400 TriHealth team members using Habit Design’s breakthrough habit coaching program, the first behavior-change system to integrate clinically validated cognitive behavioral therapies, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, and mobile applications.

“Our enthusiasm in partnering with Habit Design is related to 1) our commitment to support the use of evidence-based practices in health behavior change, and 2) to our outstanding initial success testing Habit Design … among team members,” said Terri Hanlon-Bremer, VP of TriHealth Employer Solutions. Reportedly 93 percent were successful in applying Habit Design toward automating a new daily habit within just nine days. “To our knowledge, no other habit-training protocol has matched this degree of success.”

“Habit Design is a breakthrough behavior-change system that supplements one-on-one coaching with a simple yet elegant synthesis of multiple behavior-change techniques, supported by a state-of-the-art smartphone application,” says Dr. Susan Stoner of UW and co-principal investigator of the project.

Funded through NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the $1.7 million Small Business Innovation Research project will apply Habit Design’s program to accelerate the formation of new habits to people at risk of metabolic syndrome at work. In the United States, metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a major public health crisis that affects more than one-in-three American adults, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and several forms of cancer. Research suggests that addressing MetS through the workplace could significantly benefit employee health and employer healthcare costs.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that virtually all Americans (97%) have failed to achieve the four basic healthy lifestyle habits: healthy eating, regular physical activity, smoking cessation, and ideal body fat percentage. Eighty percent of all heart disease incidents, 80% of diabetes incidents and 40% of cancers could be prevented if Americans mastered just the first three,” said Michael Kim, founder & CEO of Habit Design and principal investigator of the project. “Receiving this non-dilutive funding from the largest single public funder of biomedical research in the world accelerates our capabilities and leadership towards enabling everyone to ‘master the force of habit’ for greater well-being and productivity.”

Habit Design is the first clinically validated, evidence-based habit coaching system proven to accelerate new habits. Independent, peer-reviewed research shows that despite common wisdom, it takes as long as 66 days or more (not 21 as many believe) to form the habits that really matter. Data also shows that nearly 80% of those trying to create new habits give up after just six weeks.

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