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Largest Hospital System in Washington Partners with Habit Design

NIH-Backed Habit Design® partners with MultiCare & University of Washington to Accelerate Healthcare Worker Wellbeing

New Breakthrough Habit Coaching Now Available to 20,000 Employees Across Washington State

Issaquah, WA (November 1, 2022) –- Issaquah-based Habit Design®, Inc. - the only company ever awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant to advance the emerging science of habit coaching - and Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System - the largest, non-profit healthcare provider in Washington State – announced a partnership to accelerate the wellbeing of Washington healthcare workers.

With the support of $1.7 million from the NIH, over 20,000 MultiCare employees are now eligible to participate in a breakthrough Phase II clinical trial that accelerates the creation of healthy habits nearly ten-times faster than previous clinically published benchmarks. Researchers and health coaches from Habit Design and the University of Washington will train and support MultiCare team members using Habit Design’s breakthrough habit coaching program: the first behavior-change system to integrate clinically validated cognitive behavioral therapies, behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, and smartphone applications.

Over the last several years, all of us, especially in healthcare, have experienced unprecedented challenges in managing our stress, resilience, and physical and mental wellbeing,” said Matt Smithson, Director of Employee Health, Safety, and Wellness at MultiCare. “Making it faster and easier to form healthy habits lowers overall stress and facilitates lasting individual and organizational wellbeing, ultimately improving health outcomes and lowering healthcare costs. We’re honored to be the first healthcare provider in Washington State to partner with Habit Design in this important innovation.”

Independent, peer-reviewed research shows that despite common wisdom, it often takes as long as 66 to 88 days or longer (not 21, as many believe) to form the habits that really matter. Research also shows that nearly 80% of those trying to create new habits give up after just six weeks. Founded by clinical scientists & psychologists from Harvard, Yale, Stanford Medical School, and the University of Washington, Habit Design® is the first clinically validated, evidence-based habit coaching system proven to accelerate new habits in as few as just nine days (Citation: Kim M, Lara ME. Designing Sustainable Behavior Change with Habit Design. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2017;31(4) 364-366.).

Habit Design® is a breakthrough behavior change system that supplements one-on-one coaching with a simple yet elegant synthesis of multiple behavior-change techniques, supported by a state-of-the-art smartphone application,” says Dr. Susan Stoner of UW and Co-Principal Investigator of the project. “Integrating well-established habit formation strategies with principles of behavioral economics and contingency management, the Habit Design program is applicable to a broad range of healthcare issues, from medication adherence to addiction recovery, exercise to healthy eating.”

Funded through NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the $1.7 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project successfully completed Phase I, a feasibility study, and is now conducting a Phase II clinical trial. The grant applies Habit Design’s breakthrough program to accelerate the formation of new habits to people at risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) at work. In the United States, metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a major public health crisis that affects more than one-in-three American adults and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and several forms of cancer. Research suggests that addressing MetS through the workplace could significantly benefit employee health and employer healthcare costs.

It’s immensely gratifying that the largest non-profit healthcare provider in our home state shares our commitment towards helping people master the discipline of accelerating new healthy habits,” said Michael Kim, the Founder & CEO of Habit Design and Principal Investigator of the project. “This partnership demonstrates the unparalleled healthcare innovation occurring now in our state.”


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