The global lead for behavior change at Philips explains why he thinks connected care should be designed to help people reach their health goals.

As connected care technologies progress, so too does the amount of readily accessible data. CPAP devices alone can now alert patients to their nightly apnea-hypopnea index, mask seal, hours used, and other parameters via a few clicks on a smartphone.

But it’s not enough to simply connect people with their data—it has has to be done in a meaningful way, said Mark Aloia, PhD, the global lead for behavior change at Philips and a psychologist at National Jewish Health, in a conversation with Sleep Review at SLEEP 2018. “There are really two reasons to connect people with their data: to encourage them or with the intention of changing their behavior.” As his position title implies, Aloia has many insights on the subject of behavior change.

“When you connect people with their data, you have to understand how people receive data and how they make change in their lives,” he continued. “I’d like to think that we [Philips] are doing it in a meaningful way to help people create the change they want to create in their lives: to help them reach their goals and use their data in a wise way. It’s not about just throwing a bunch of data at you and seeing what happens. It’s about doing it in a way that honors that you’d like to accomplish in your life.”

Aloia said a goal the field should work toward is “listening to the patient and understanding what she wants…and what you may want may be different than what someone else wants.” Eventually, he said, being able to completely personalize the user’s experience is the goal. “Maybe the first step is taking this behavior change approach and understanding that we need to do a bit more listening than talking, so we learn what people generally want and possibly what different phenotypes exist: there’s someone who wants information graphically, someone who wants a video, and someone who wants a story. We not going to start by assuming all of that, but we’re absolutely going to build the AI [artificial intelligence] into our approaches that allows you to hopefully personalize your experience.”

Clinicians too have easier and more consistent access to data than ever before. But “just having that capability doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what clinicians want,” Aloia said. “As a clinician myself, something I think about is: If I have all of this information, how am I going to manage it?” He said the smart approach here is to understand each stakeholder, adding “if we can connect the patients to their data in a meaningful way, the doctor’s job is easier because the patient is more engaged.”

Connected care technologies aren’t relevant to only sleep medicine, of course. “We understand there is a need in COPD care and are working in that direction as well. This is the way medicine needs to go,” Aloia said.

Sree Roy is editor of Sleep Review.