Envisioning an evidence-based behavior change tool for chronic health conditions

with Proteus Digital Health .

Primary Responsibilities

Literature research
Market research
Product strategy and roadmapping
Workshop facilitation


Conducting deep research into the science behind behavior change and motivation to inform a product experience vision for creating lasting positive health outcomes for patients with chronic health conditions.


At Proteus Digital Health, we'd noticed a dropoff in patient engagement in our app after a few weeks of use. We wanted to understand how to make Discover result in a sustained improvement in medication adherence and healthy behaviors — even after discontinued use.


Evidence points to measurable health benefits for patients who are are actively engaged in and educated about their health. At Proteus, we wanted to explore features in our digital health platform (a wearable device and smartphone app) that would encourage patients to be more engaged and informed in their health behaviors.

Motivation is a fuzzy science, and one difficult to apply in practice. There are thousands of apps and digital health devices on the market that claim to motivate and engage patients. We decided early on that guesswork — copycatting features and praying for the best — was the wrong approach.

Instead, our objectives were to:

  • deeply understand the evidence on motivation and engagement in cognitive/behavioral science and healthcare
  • educate our colleagues internally so that we could collaborate to develop features that stood the best chance of helping patients.

Discovery and Needfinding

In-home ethnography with people with chronic illnesses.

Interviews with subject matter experts on behavior change.

Literature research

Thorough literature review to gain a strong foundation in cognitive and behavioral science and its applications in lasting behavior change.

Creating a set of “Behavior Change Taxonomy” Cards as workshop stimuli, based on a peer-reviewed meta-analysis of ‘behavior change techniques.’

Market research

Evaluating 35+ apps to understand the landscape of digital health behavior change, including coding, benchmarking, and mapping featuresets and target markets.

Behavior Change Workshop

Coordinating a two-day Behavior Change Workshop to get other teams at Proteus up to speed and brainstorm how we might move evidence based techniques into digital health.

Ideating solutions for diet, exercise, and medication adherence.

Synthesizing our outputs into a product vision.


Early concepts based on our findings and outputs.


  • Thorough research helped ground our thinking in evidence, so that we could more confidently envision the patient-centric perspective on effective behavior change.
  • This was one of the more forward-thinking and blue-sky of my projects at Proteus, yet at the time, the company needed to focus on improving our core product experience and the project was paused.
  • While the timing wasn't right to develop these features, we succeeded in creating an informed conversation at the company about the future of the product, while establishing a strong foundation of evidence for our product team to draw upon. It's still one of the projects I'm proudest of overall.