Stop smoking app shows high rate of success in trial
An app that aims to help people beat addictions has helped 52 per cent of participants in a clinical trial stop smoking after four weeks.
The app provides users with cognitive behavioral therapy content, one-to-one coaching, anonymous peer support, tools to assist when they feel cravings, telemedicine consultations, and breath sensors to monitor progress. It also has a portal that uses algorithms to flag high-risk individuals so they get additional support as soon as they need it.
The randomised study, which took place in the UK, was conducted with two groups of people. One was given access to the Quit Genius app, while the second was given advice following the Ask, Advise, Act model, a typical method used by healthcare professionals.
“Utilizing a randomized-controlled trial design allows us to distinguish between the causal effect of treatment, placebo, and underlying differences in propensity to quit in the study population” Jamie Webb, Quit Genius clinical research lead explained.
When participants were contacted four weeks after their quit date, the results showed that Quit Genius had a significantly higher rate of success than conventional advice. The participants that did not manage to quit reduced their average cigarette use by 48 per cent.
Researchers believe the results reflect that having confidence in the ability to control one's own motivation and behaviour can lead to abstaining successfully from smoking.
“Digital, remote-first programs like Quit Genius allow smokers to access gold-standard support without seeing a counselor in person, something that has become crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Yusuf Sherwani, Quit Genius Co-Founder and CEO.
“While there have been great strides in the adoption of digital health, the industry faces a credibility crisis due to the lack of high-quality peer-reviewed research that back up many of the healthcare claims. As a physician-led organization, we have made creating a robust research pipeline a cornerstone of our mission.”
Quit Genius was founded by doctors as a digital solution to help people overcome nicotine, alcohol and opioid addictions. It is currently being used by several National Health Service (NHS) organisations across England.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”