School of Medical and Health Sciences
Precision health seeks to optimise behavioural interventions by delivering personalised support to those in need, when and where they need it. Conceptualised a decade ago, progress toward this vision of personally relevant and effective population-wide interventions continues to evolve. This scoping review aimed to map the state of precision health behaviour change intervention research. This review included studies from a broader precision health review. Six databases were searched for studies published between January 2010 and June 2020, using the terms ‘precision health’ or its synonyms, and including an intervention targeting modifiable health behaviour(s) that was evaluated experimentally. Thirty-one studies were included, 12 being RCTs (39 %), and 17 with weak study design (55 %). Most interventions targeted physical activity (27/31, 87 %) and/or diet (24/31, 77 %), with 74% (23/31) targeting two to four health behaviours. Interventions were personalised via human interaction in 55 % (17/31) and digitally in 35 % (11/31). Data used for personalising interventions was largely self-reported, by survey or diary (14/31, 45 %), or digitally (14/31, 45 %). Data was mostly behavioural or lifestyle (20/31, 65 %), and physiologic, biochemical or clinical (15/31, 48 %), with no studies utilising genetic/genomic data. This review demonstrated that precision health behaviour change interventions remain dependent on human-led, low-tech personalisation, and have not fully considered the interaction between behaviour and the social and environmental contexts of individuals. Further research is needed to understand the relationship between personalisation and intervention effectiveness, working toward the development of sophisticated and scalable behaviour change interventions that have tangible public health impact.
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