Wisdo Health Study: Digital Peer Support Platform Reduces Loneliness, Depression, and Anxiety Rates among Vulnerable Populations

NEW YORKNov. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire- Wisdo Health, a provider of data-driven virtual peer support and social health, today announced the first peer-reviewed research demonstrating the effectiveness of virtual peer support in improving clinical outcomes and reducing total cost of care among vulnerable adult populations. Published in JMIR Formative Research, the study demonstrates that a scalable virtual solution can address the harmful consequences of loneliness and social isolation on health outcomes, engagement rates, and costs and can be used to identify and refer members to relevant Social Determinants of Health and behavioral health resources.

Over 50% of U.S. adults suffer from loneliness and social isolation, with rates among minority groups and low-income populations reaching 75% among Hispanics and 72% among Medicaid members. As described in the May 2023 U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory about the loneliness epidemic, lacking social connection is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the risk for heart disease by 29%, stroke by 32%, and dementia by 50%. It also doubles the likelihood of developing depression and anxiety and is the strongest predictor of suicidal ideation. Studies estimate that annual healthcare spending by health plans is $1,643 higher for socially isolated individuals than those not socially isolated.

Conducted in 2022, the current study included 815 participants aged 18-70 living in Colorado. The average age was 38, with 38% female, 54% White, 16% Hispanic, 6% Black, and a total of 56% categorized as having a high social vulnerability score as defined by the CDC.

Participants were enrolled in the Wisdo platform where, based on a proprietary self-mapping process, they were matched with trained peers based on shared lived experience, had access to group coaching to build resilience and social health, and the ability to earn a Helper badge and offer support to specific members who can benefit from their unique experience.

Key results include:

  • Statistically significant improvements (p<.001) in all clinical outcomes, including loneliness (15%), depression (50%), anxiety (29%), and quality of life / unhealthy days (13%).
  • 4.5x industry average retention rates, with 86% of participants still engaged at 90 days.
  • More than 88% of participants reported that they would recommend Wisdo to others.
  • Unhealthy days reported by members decreased by more than three days per month, based on the Centers for Disease Control’s “Health Days Measures.” This equates to an estimated $615 in savings per participant per year driven solely by peer support.

View study at: https://formative.jmir.org/2023/1/e48864


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