Sharecare, the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place, and MindSciences, the leader in evidence-based behavior change apps, has announced a partnership to integrate MindSciences’ Craving to Quit by Dr. Jud tobacco cessation program into Sharecare’s comprehensive digital health platform. Developed by leading neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Jud Brewer, Craving to Quit leverages the neuroscience of mindfulness to help people overcome smoking and other forms of tobacco addiction.
“We are fiercely committed to helping our client partners introduce healthier behaviors and habits to their populations, and delivering a best-in-class tobacco cessation solution to their members who need it is critical to that end,” said Dave Springer, chief operating officer of enterprise for Sharecare. “One of the first things a tobacco user learns after taking Sharecare’s health risk assessment – the RealAge test – is that smoking can shorten your life by up to six years. That shocking realization alone motivates many to make a change – and now with Craving to Quit, we can help improve individual outcomes and lower costs while empowering people to experience a longer and better quality of life.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use stands as the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. In 2018, the CDC estimated nearly 13.7% (34.2 million) of U.S. adults were current smokers, and 1 in 4 smoked every day. In recent years, e-cigarette usage – or “vaping” – has risen in popularity; in 2016, a research study estimated nearly 1 in 20 (10.8 million) U.S. adults use e-cigarettes, and among teens, vaping has reached epidemic proportions. Although the short-term health risks of vaping include lung injuries as well as exposure to nicotine, toxic chemicals and heavy metals such as lead, the long-term effects of this trend require further study. Still, the CDC estimates smoking-related illnesses cost more than $300 billion annually, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care and $156 billion in lost productivity. In addition to the economic impact, cigarette smoking is responsible for an estimated 460,000 deaths annually. Although more than 70% of smokers in the U.S. say they want to quit smoking, less than 10% succeed without support programs like Craving To Quit, which research has shown yields a 24% quit rate.
“We are pleased to join forces with the leading digital health and wellness company and be their exclusive provider of behavior change programming for smoking and tobacco cessation,” said Dr. Mark Mitchnick, CEO of MindSciences. “Partnering with Sharecare will enable us to engage a significant number of their members in taking a more active role in their health and create positive and sustainable change in their lives. The reach, engagement and depth of Sharecare is unparalleled, and now their users have access to the best in scientifically validated habit-change tools. We look forward to working with Sharecare to continue providing innovative digital mindfulness tools directly to those that need it most.”
Based on more than a decade of peer-reviewed research and funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse among others, Craving to Quit by Dr. Jud is available to Sharecare’s payer, provider, government and employer group customers. Eligible members can access the program through Sharecare and complete the 21-day mindfulness-based training, which helps members understand how their brain reacts to tobacco cues and how to break those patterns – known as the “habit loop.” Through a series of clinically tested interactive daily modules with mindfulness lessons and exercises, Craving to Quit by Dr. Jud leverages that same habit loop function used to form bad habits now to unwind them for good. In addition to the learning track, the program also offers in-app coaching; an engagement tracker and cigarette usage tracker; a supportive online community; as well as weekly group video chats with clinical experts. The program can also include nicotine replacement therapy, which enterprise customers may offer to members directly through Craving to Quit by Dr. Jud as part of their medical benefits.
“We are excited to enhance the digital offerings we bring our members and employees in partnership with Sharecare to improve their overall well-being, now with support for those who are committed to quitting tobacco,” said Stacia Cohen, Executive Vice President of Health Services, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. “Making quality healthcare solutions accessible is key in keeping our population healthy, and the ability to offer Craving to Quit through Sharecare is both an important and promising addition to our comprehensive programs for managing and improving personal health.”
As the newest addition to Sharecare’s suite of evidence-based solutions to promote behavior change and accelerate personal well-being, Craving to Quit by Dr. Jud builds on Sharecare’s mindfulness tools, which include the recently launched Sharecare Windows – a series of original HD relaxation and wellness videos created to reduce stress and anxiety, promote healthy sleep patterns, and support meditative practices.
In the coming months, Sharecare also will work to integrate MindSciences’ other app-based programs that utilize mindfulness – Eat Right Now and Unwinding Anxiety – to help people reverse unhealthy relationships with food, stress and anxiety, which contribute to today’s most costly and widespread health issues in the United States. MindSciences’ programs are based on years of scientific research, which include results achieved with over 3,000 clinical trial participants and tens of thousands of real-world users. The work has received more than $15 million in funding and resulted in more than 70 publications.