Health kiosk company higi finds incentives help lower blood pressure

By Aditi Pai
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higiCombining health tracking with incentives, rewards, and challenges can contribute to consumers' lowered blood pressure, according to a study that looked at historical data from higi, a health kiosk company. The company examined data for 159,000 people with hypertension over nearly three years, from September 2012 to April 2015.

The data higi collected included activity from higi's health kiosks, mobile app, and web portal. Higi's health kiosks, which are available in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail locations, have grown to almost 10,000 units. According to higi, this puts a kiosk within 5 miles of 75 percent of the US population.

"A blood pressure reading is a vital health measure that most people understand and know how to monitor easily when given the tools to do so," higi Chief Medical Officer and CTO Dr. Khan M. Siddiqui said in a statement. "When this behavior is encouraged through rewards and challenges, individuals have a powerful opportunity to hardwire healthy habits in their everyday lives."

Nearly half of study participants lowered their systolic blood pressure to below 140 mmHg. Patients who logged in to their accounts at least five times per month lowered their systolic blood pressure, on average, 17 mmHg and dropped diastolic blood pressure, on average, 9 mmHg. More than 80 percent of participants saw at least some reduction in blood pressure over this time period.

Higi has been focused on incentive-driven health tracking for a few years now. At the end of 2013, higi acquired challenges and rewards platform Earndit, which billed itself as a system that gives people more immediate rewards for their exercise, since the delayed, natural rewards of exercise are often not enough to keep us motivated.

Last year, higi merged with Stayhealthy, another mobile health company that also has a health kiosk business. At the time higi CEO Jeff Bennett said their ultimate goal is to promote and develop a collaborative approach to healthcare between physicians, providers, payers, employers and individuals.