Knowing Our Numbers, We Improve Our Health




A Chicago-based company named higi has created a platform for tracking blood pressure and other health information. Their platform interacts with activity monitors like Fitbit, Garmin and Jawbone. Users can sync their data online and earn incentives like retail discounts, gift cards, fitness gear, gym memberships and vacations.

A study presented at the recent AHA High Blood Pressure Conference suggested that the platform helped people with high blood pressure to lower their readings. Participants in the nearly three-year study, average age 52, showed a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or more — considered high — at their first higi measurement. Fifty-six percent of participants were men, 44 percent were women and nearly half were obese. Analyzing the activities of approximately 153,000 people, researchers found:

  • Nearly half decreased their systolic blood pressure(top number).
  • Of those who logged into the system more than 20 times, about 85 percent lowered their blood pressure to non-hypertensive.
  • Participants with more than 20 such logins showed an average drop of systolic blood pressure of 16.2 mmHg and a drop of diastolic pressure (bottom number) of10.6 mmHg.

“What we found in our study confirms what many have felt intuitively: when individuals are armed with their health data, they can make meaningful improvements in their health that may lead to lasting behavior change,” said Khan M. Siddiqui, chief technology officer and chief medical officer at higi. “Our findings bolster our belief that the best way to help people live healthier lives is to empower them with personally meaningful data, content and rewards that make healthier choices second nature.”

The health monitoring system takes place on a network of 10,000 retail health stations or with third-party wearable health-tracking devices.

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