Science and Innovation

Our Research and Development Philosophy

MeYou Health is dedicated to iterative data-driven development. We conceive a comprehensive research program that informs design and development throughout the life of each product. We evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of our products on an ongoing basis, feeding what we’ve learned back into the development cycle.

Our methods include ethnographic studies and user interviews, A/B testing, observational analytics, and randomized controlled trials. Through the continuous analysis of consumer feedback, process data, and experimental evidence, we identify product features to revisit, expand, or introduce. Our research efforts ensure great usability and user experience, and aim to maximize effectiveness

Our Contributions to Scientific Literature

MeYou Health’s unique research capabilities lead to insights and knowledge that transcends any one product or intervention. We share our knowledge with the scientific community to contribute to the advancement of the field of health informatics. Recent publications include:

Open Social Design for Behavior Change

How an open social approach increases a network’s power to effect change on individual participants. Whereas most wellness programs offer limited social networking, this model allows participants to share and interact with anyone in their social network, regardless of health insurance provider or employer.

Effectiveness of a Multimodal Online Well-Being Intervention: A Randomized Controlled Trial
We evaluated our freely accessible program Daily Challenge for its impact on well-being. We carried out a randomized controlled trial to track the well-being of over 1,500 participants over 90 days. Compared to a control group, participants who used Daily Challenge showed significant improvement in well-being at 30 and 90 days. Well-being improvement was more pronounced in participants who interacted with the program more (opened emails, visited the site, completed challenges) and in participants who had connections ("friends") within Daily Challenge. We conclude that Daily Challenge is an effective well-being intervention with significant clinical potential.

Implementation of an online pragmatic randomized controlled trial: a methodological case study
describes the implementation of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.

We conducted the trial entirely online and leveraged existing resources to implement it quickly and within budget. We conclude that rigorous and rapid research can be done, and should inform product development on an ongoing basis.

Social Influence as a Driver of Engagement in a Web-based Health Intervention explored the relationship between the social ties within Daily Challenge and how they affected the levels of engagement with the product. Consistent with the theory that social influence can affect health habits, the study results showed that participants with social ties in Daily Challenge opened more emails, visited the website more often, and completed more challenges than those without social ties.

A Social Re-engagement Mechanism in a Web-based Health Intervention examined the effectiveness of social “nudges” to re-engage Daily Challenge members who were at risk of discontinuing usage of the product. We learned that more participants who received a social nudge were more likely to re-engage, open more Daily Challenge emails, visit the site on more days, and complete more challenges than those who received a traditional re-engagement email.

Performance of a Recommender System in Stimulating Viral Growth and Social Tie Formation in a Web-Based Health Intervention studied a Daily Challenge feature that prompted members with recommendations of individuals to invite into the program, choosing from members’ externally established social networks. The intelligent selection algorithm performed 237% better than random recommendations, making it much more likely that a member would agree to send an invite.

Our Scientific Foundations

MeYou Health builds on recent advances in scientific literature about behavior change, public health, and social networks. Scientific principles are imperceptively woven into each product to lessen users’ burden in managing their well-being and magnify the payoff of their efforts to be healthy and happy. For example, the Small Steps approach, championed by Dr. James Hill, shaped the content and overall design of our flagship product, Daily Challenge. A Daily Challenge member receives a daily email that contains one small, manageable action to improve well-being. Over time, these “challenges” add up to enable members to feel empowered in improving their well-being.

The challenges meet strict requirements that aim to optimize members’ ability to take action. Dr. BJ Fogg’s Behavior Grid and Model provided frameworks to describe and structure Daily Challenge’s program, from defining the behavior types appropriate for challenges to explaining how realistic goals and an appointment mechanic have contributed to the completion of over 7 million health challenges to date.

MeYou Health’s innovative products recognize that health and well-being are social. The seminal research of Drs. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler unveiled the intricate relationship between social networks and health. Our products leverage social networks to help members get the social support they need to stay engaged and reach their well-being goals. Furthermore, large communities of members (the Daily Challenge population boasts over 250,000 members) afford us the opportunity to uncover the influence of social networks’ characteristics on our members’ behaviors and well-being – an invaluable source of insights that can be used to improve the products.