Updates from College of Health Sciences

Digital Lifestyle Medicine

Digital-Lifestyle

Lifestyle medicine (LM) is a major emerging field in medicine, and new models of care are required to meet the worldwide disease burden. Leveraging virtual and digital modalities enables care transformation to a more efficient, effective, and consumer-focused model while reducing barriers to access. 

Of particular importance to LM is the ongoing engagement with a multidisciplinary team to support significant lifestyle changes. Digital engagement makes LM relevant and effective for patients by bringing it into the context where lifestyle changes are made, and individuals adopt new patterns of eating, moving, managing stress, improving sleep, enhancing social connections, and avoiding unhealthy substances. 

Designing and implementing a Digital Lifestyle Medicine (DLM) framework requires an intentional strategy and approach around care transformation that includes multidisciplinary virtual appointments, digital health coaching and programming, and peer support. In addition, it requires insights and collaboration from healthcare experts and technology entrepreneurs to provide a profoundly different user experience layered with context, relevance, and scalability.

The DLM was implemented through the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), where several virtual visit types are offered, including provider consults, shared medical appointments (SMAs), medical nutrition therapy (MNT), tobacco and nicotine consultation, and health coaching. Several other ways of engagement with the LM team include webinars, book clubs, and a Facebook group. Health coaching is also a critical component to successful and sustained behavior change. Prescribing health apps and digital therapeutics provide an opportunity to extend behavior change support. Social and peer support are other critical components to successful and sustained change. Digital and virtual modalities enable patients and community members to connect on an ongoing basis, in real-time, and without physical proximity. 

DLM offers a path to supporting health with key characteristics that enable transformation and meaningful population-level impact. The authors believe that the full realization of DLM occurs at the intersection of science, technology, entertainment, and social health. At that intersection, the power of DLM can truly transform the future of medicine and inspire communities to stay well.

References:
Mauriello, L., and Artz, K. (2021). Digital Lifestyle Medicine: Designing, Delivering, and Scaling for Impact. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/15598276211029219


Dima El-Halabi, MSc, RDN
College of Health Sciences
Abu Dhabi University

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