What if you got paid for developing healthier habits or taking your medication every day? An app called Wellth does exactly that. The platform uses gamification and financial rewards to motivate individuals to follow provider-reccommended care plans and medication protocols. It focuses on those who struggle the most with adherence due to chronic illness, income insecurity, and factors that affect health equity. Clinical trials show that Wellth can boost medication and care plan adherence and reduce the risk of rehospitalization.

For individuals managing diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and other chronic conditions, sticking with a provider-recommended care plan can significantly improve quality of life and treatment outcomes. Unsurprisingly, non-adherence to a provider-recommended care plan increases the likelihood of adverse outcomes. These include rehospitalization, severe health complications, and fatality. 

In the past, studies have identified cost, dosing frequency, and lack of patient education as significant barriers to adherence. But newer research emphasizes personal preferences, biases, and approaches to decision-making. The realities of living with a chronic condition differ significantly between individuals. Socioeconomic factors, personal history, mental health, co-occurring conditions, and many other factors can contribute to the patient’s unique experience and their habits around following a health management plan.

Wellth tackles personal barriers to motivation and habit-formation with customized incentive plans based on the theories of behavioral economics. These principles apply psychology to everyday behaviors, which explain why humans often bypass rational action to make decisions that aren’t in their best interest.

Wellth is available to individuals through health insurance plans, employers, and providers. Members begin with an account containing a gifted amount of money, typically $30 per 30 days. When users skip their daily medications, they lose $2 from the account. To keep those $2, the user must submit a photo of their hand holding the medicine each day. The app confirms the amount and type of drugs in the picture through image recognition.

At the end of 30 days, Wellth transfers the account balance to a special credit card which the member can use for groceries, household needs, and vehicle costs. In addition to medication, Wellth motivates users to track clinical values, use medical devices, and stay current with their appointments, preventive care, and lab orders.

By applying AI algorithms to identify individual adherence patterns, Wellth continually personalizes medication reminders, goals, and other features. The app also notifies providers and payers of concerning habits that could lead to non-adherence and negative health outcomes. Rewards for streaks and game features give users the chance to increase their earnings. Members managing mental health or postoperative conditions can also use Wealth to stay on track with care protocols.

In trials conducted with clinical partners that include Advent Health and Penn Medicine, Wellth increased medication compliancereduced readmission rates, and decreased preventable medical visits. The trials show benefits for patients with Type 1 diabetes, COPD, coronary artery disease, and other chronic illnesses.