Multiple studies and reviews conducted by experts in the
behavior change and digital health field have found that Wizdy uses
effective patient engagement and behavior change techniques.
Read more about what they have to say!
The study identified 42 different functions and sorted them into four categories: tracking (i.e. if the application can keep track of the user’s peak expiratory flow), information about symptoms, assessment (i.e. color coding a graphic of a user’s breathing patterns), and notification (i.e. reminders to take medication). Wizdy Pets was among half of the apps that offered features related to “tracking of peak flow values, medications, and symptoms.” Moreover, the study reported that only 34% of the 38 asthma apps are available for both iOS and Android devices; Wizdy Pets is one of the apps available on both platforms.
Any app seeking to drive positive outcomes must be evaluated on their ability to change the behavior of the user. Each app was rated for the implementation of each of 26 behavior change techniques identified by Abraham and Michie (i.e. “provide contingent rewards”, “prompt self-monitoring of behavior”, “prompt barrier identification”, etc.). Wizdy Pets led the field of apps tested: “The amount of applied techniques ranged from 1 [..] to 19 (“Wizdy Pets”).”
The study also tracked gamification components, which are typical elements of game playing (i.e. loss aversion, leaderboards, altruism). Gamification components “should motivate the patient to use the app to deliver the active ingredients,” as such, they are a very important part of the app’s overall effectiveness.On average, apps had 4.89 gamification components (standard deviation = 4.21). Wizdy Pets stood above all apps with a remarkable 24.5 gamification components, exceeding the average by more than four standard deviations.
App quality was tested based the MARS framework which contains 19 items on a 5-point scale. Most asthma apps were ranked poorly with respect to quality, citing low information quality, user engagement, and aesthetics. Wizdy, however, stood out from all other apps: “The range of app quality ratings and subjective app quality ratings reached from inadequate or poor [...] to almost excellent (eg, “Wizdy Pets” scored a 4.55 and 4.50 in terms of app quality and subjective app quality).”
Asthma self-management is an incredibly important part of patients’ lives, and could be improved by technology. Among all apps tested, Wizdy Pets stands out as the clear leader in all four categories tested: app functions, behavior change, gamification, and quality.
Researchers at The Brigham formalized a review structure for patient engagement applications highlighted in the Commonwealth Fund Issue Brief in 2016. The team identified different levels of engagement (summarized in Exhibit 1) and used the resulting framework to evaluate the hundreds of apps aimed at engaging patients. The results for Wizdy Pets are summarized below. Wizdy Pets earned high marks in numerous relevant categories. Wizdy directly engages patients, providing them with educational information and rewarding them for using the app and achieving health goals--Wizdy reaches the top level of engagement. This is particularly remarkable considering that 94% of all iOS apps reviewed by the group provide no to limited engagement.
|Question||Reviewer 1||Reviewer 2|
|I think that I would like to use this system frequently||5 (Strongly agree)||4 (agree)|
|5 (Strongly agree)||5 (Strongly agree)|
|I found the various functions in this system were well integrated.||5 (Strongly agree)||5 (Strongly agree)|
|I thought there was too much inconsistency in this system.||1 (Strongly disagree)||1 (Strongly disagree)|
|I would imagine that most people would learn to use this system very quickly.||5 (Strongly agree)||5 (Strongly agree)|
|I felt very confident using the system.||5 (Strongly agree)||5 (Strongly agree)|
|I needed to learn a lot of things before I could get going with this system..||1 (Strongly disagree)||1 (Strongly disagree)|
|How likely is it that you would recommend this app to a friend or colleague?||8 (out of 10)||8 (out of 10)|
|The value provided by the app is worth the cost.||5 (Strongly agree)||5 (Strongly agree)|
Dr. Niraj Mistry is a practicing pediatrician in Toronto, Canada. He received his MD at the University of Toronto and completed his Pediatrics residency at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Dr. Mistry is currently a staff pediatrician at SickKids, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Scarborough Centenary. His cutting edge research is focused on the user-centred design, development, and implementation of novel technologies to improve the application of the best available evidence at the point of care, to enhance care delivery and optimize the patient and family experience.
In his clinical opinion, “children are highly unlikely to be motivated to engage in self-monitoring and managing their symptoms unless the right incentives are involved.” The point of the study was to examine these incentives. Dr. Mistry reviewed four pediatric asthma management apps, two of which target younger audiences through games. He graded them based on 6 categories: features, effectiveness, usability, privacy & security, reliability, and accessibility.
Ranked the highest out of the four apps he reviewed, Dr. Mistry gave Wizdy Pets a score of ⅘ stars. He praised its features, saying that “the games provide a simple interface with colourful cartoons like many popular games.” He also complimented its ease of use, stating “language is plain and simple, targeted to children, with a reading level aimed at early elementary school or primary readers from six to nine years of age.” Mistry validated the educational focus and true effectiveness of Wizdy Pets, remarking that “by playing this game, children will learn to identify asthma triggers, how to take inhalers, the difference between controller and reliever medicines and the importance of taking regular controller medicine.”
Dr. Mistry ended his review by stating “overall, this is an excellent game for children with asthma. Its interface is simple and features colourful cartoon animations.”