How Matching Algorithms Drive Participant Engagement

Many chronic diseases can be prevented or reversed through changes in lifestyle. Unfortunately, lifestyle choices and related habits are notoriously difficult to change. This may be why chronic disease is so prevalent in our society. Even when we try to change, we often get frustrated with slow progress and give up before reaching our goals. An article published by The American Psychological Association says, “Lifestyle changes are a process that take time and require support.” The latter point is highlighted in a study by The Permanente Medical Group, which found that medical group members who received wellness coaching experienced significant weight loss as compared to a control group that received no coaching. The study also found that coaching can improve outcomes for people with chronic disease, as well as lower medical costs and hospitalizations.

How matching algorithms affects engagement

At Newtopia, we understand the role of coaching as an essential part of an effective health and wellness program. This is why our coaches—called Inspirators—are a foundational element of our program. Each new participant is matched to their very own dedicated Inspirator. We do this through our Personality Profile quiz that participants take when registering for the program. The profile identifies things such as motivation, social determinants of health, personal preferences, and goals. Our proprietary technology then applies an 18-point algorithm to the information to reveal the individual’s personality subtype, which then becomes the basis for both matching participants to their Inspirator and for customizing their program.

Why personality matters

Research shows that 60% of our health and quality of life is related to lifestyle choices. Those choices are in great part related to our personality traits. Newtopia’s sophisticated algorithm is able to identify three primary personality subtypes that involve different patterns of thinking and behaviors. These patterns and behaviors can greatly influence an individual’s entire healthy living journey and addressing them should be an integral part of the participant’s plan.

The three personality subtypes are: emotion-based, opportunity based, and “all-or-none.”

An individual with an emotion-based personality subtype often eats as a distraction from negative emotions or as a reward for positive emotions. They’re more likely to eat when they’re stressed, bored or lonely, and they may struggle with guilt or shame when they overindulge. This person’s program might include education on how to recognize and address their emotions without judgement and in ways other than eating.

A person with an opportunity-based personality subtype may eat mindlessly without recognizing internal hunger cues or feelings of satiety. They’re more likely to eat faster, eat beyond the point of feeling full, and overestimate how hungry they actually are. This person’s program might include mindfulness meditation or strategies to help become more aware of when they’ve had enough.

An individual with an all-or-none subtype may be easily derailed from their program due to self-sabotaging thoughts or external pressures. They are easily frustrated with slow results and may go completely off plan due to a single slipup. These individuals are also more likely to abandon their healthy lifestyle behaviors once they’ve reached their goals. For this group, a program might include smaller, but more frequent goals to keep them motivated to stay on plan. They also might include strategies to help make habit change an ongoing way of life.

Each of these personality subtypes has unique characteristics that play into an individual’s ability to achieve long-term health and wellness improvements.

A coaching relationship based on complimentary personality subtypes generally produce the best results. For example, participants with emotion-based subtypes work best with Inspirators of the same subtype. On the other hand, participants with opportunity-based subtypes achieve better results when paired with an Inspirator with an all-or-none subtype, and vice versa.

Using this complimentary personality matching approach, Newtopia has been able to achieve a high level of success; fewer than 1% of participants request a new match.

Why the participant-Inspirator relationship matters

Many health improvement programs now offer some type of coaching. But when participants reach out for help, the coach that replies is typically the first one available to answer the phone, text, or chat request. In some instances, chatbots are the first point of contact. The result is that all participants receive answers based on the same one-size-fits-most content, not on their unique needs and personality traits.

Now imagine a participant-coach engagement where the coach already knows the individual’s medical background, their goals, their motivations, and their program details. The coach understands what part of the program the individual is in, how hard they’ve worked, and detail about their unique challenges. And imagine that the participant engages with the same coach each time—a coach with a complimentary personality profile. This type of relationship builds trust, rapport, alliance, confidence, and, ultimately, success.

Learn more about Newtopia’s solutions here.

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