Select Page

A big part of individual empowerment by cloud tools, is the “impetus” component, that drives consistent involvement in behavioral change. Or, in old-fashioned behavioral psychology terminology that would be the carrot part of operant conditioning. Those activities with extrinsic or intrinsic rewards are more likely to be repeated, whether we are talking about mice in a maze, dogs and treats tricks, or humans remembering to brush their teeth before bed.

Digital therapeutics, a subset of digital health, is a health discipline and treatment option that utilizes a digital and often online health technologies to treat a medical or psychological condition. The treatment relies on behavioral and lifestyle changes usually spurred by a collection of digital impetuses.

If we are to see effective digital impetuses for participation in DIY healthcare and DIY education, we will need to incorporate a reward system that “works”, especially in a world with so many online distractions, constant smart phone messages, and other “short attention span theater” elements ongoing.  We’ll need more than “virtual treats” to “add new effective life enhancing behaviors”, but those virtual treats will still be useful. Ultimately, behavioral change and learning will be most effective when the activities they involve are well aligned with “natural motivations” already present.

This is way easier said than done. OTOH, digital tools are powerful assistants and are going to get dramatically more powerful in the short-term, as SIRI and other personal assistants are developed to their maximum effectiveness. Below is part of what that effectiveness may look like, in the realm of healthcare, from MIT. What does MIT have to do with healthcare? Let’s find out.

[gview file=”“Digital-Therapeutics”-Be-as-Good-as-Drugs-MIT-Technology-Review.pdf”]


Not sure if “digital impetuses” will catch on…not sure if I’ve ever seen that word before… but we are all going to need to eLearn some new terminology as we go. Especially as we forge new connections across silos of academia. (often the 101 level course at university is mostly just learning the terminology needed to understand higher levels in the field.)