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MiGuide: Lifestyle Medicine Made Easy

Arjen Huizinga | Rebecca Taylor | Bart Brandenburg | MiGuide
Arjen Huizinga | Rebecca Taylor | Bart Brandenburg | MiGuide

“Behavioral Change! A phenomenon that is quite observed, exhibited, and witnessed in different species relating to mammals. And, as being the most intelligent species on the planet, humans have evolved along with the progression of this phenomenon into the socio-psychological realm.

This iteration might sound very specific to the community who are into biophysiologics of the healthcare system. But, this theoretical underpinning doesn’t just stop there. With technological up-gradation and the emergence of biomedical devices, it has been very easy to take an in-depth understanding of human health, and with advanced technologies like AI and ML, there are many entrepreneurs and healthcare enthusiasts who are providing effective solutions and are facilitating diabetes solutions services as—this biological disorder of pancreas and its symbiotic organ system has a lot with the human behavioral pattern.

One such company whose services stand on the fundamental fusion of behavioral change inputs and big data insights is MiGuide.

“We want to support patients and professionals with lifestyle medicine so both experience the benefits of lasting lifestyle changes,” says the company’s Chief Executive Officer—Arjen Huizinga.

Spearheading this transformation is a trio who are at the heart of the organization.

Below are the interview highlights that bring the viewpoints of the top management brass of the organization– Arjen Huizinga| Chief Executive OfficerRebecca Taylor| Chief Product OfficerBart Brandenburg| Chief Medical Officer.

Let’s side into the interview and learn how did MiGuide make it possible to become one of the most trusted diabetes solution providers with its MedTech Solution.

Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is currently positioned as one of the most reliable companies providing diabetes solution in the healthcare sector.

MiGuide is a combined MedTech developer and digital-first healthcare clinic specialized in blended-care lifestyle coaching, based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Founded in 2018, our mission is to improve quality of life and health outcomes for patients with chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.

MiGuide is based on behavioral change theory, where small steps, which you have control over, lead to big changes. These are informed by personalized insights from ‘big data’ analysis and supported by healthcare professionals, with General Practitioners and lifestyle coaches informed via the MiGuide platform.

– 50% of the perceived burden of disease in chronic conditions can be attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle and improving lifestyle is effective

– Making (and maintaining) lifestyle adjustments is difficult, stretched healthcare providers do not have the bandwidth to build into their care process without support

– MiGuide mobilizes and supports patients’ own intrinsic motivation with “blended” guidance, a framework for both patients and care providers.

Our core differentiator, next to an impactful behavior change service, is that MiGuide is a platform for patients and general practitioners. The app is connected to all the general practitioner information systems in the Netherlands, so the patient has access to his own medical file. Vice versa, the General Practitioner may view the patient’s self-reported data. Gaining insights into the patient’s diet and exercise pattern, data that helps prepare the next consultation, possibly concluding that this consultation is no longer necessary.

We are the digital extension of the General Practitioner.

Tell us more about your company, its offerings, and its stronghold in the healthcare space.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a major positive impact on health. It is difficult for patients to adopt this healthy lifestyle because it requires a change. Their current way of life is often deeply embedded and is tied to habits, culture, upbringing, the environment, and many other factors. If these issues are not addressed, a different lifestyle may not be achieved.

Diabetes is a serious disease characterized by high blood glucose levels. About 1.2 million in the Netherlands alone, and this number is growing by about 1200 people every week, including young people, partly due to the prevalence of overweight. In Western countries, type 2 diabetes is two to five times more common among people with low education and with a migration background. Diabetes often leads to long-term complications such as cardiovascular problems, nerve damage, eye problems, foot ulcers, and chronic kidney disease. Patients with diabetes are more vulnerable to infections such as COVID-19. For the patient, this means a reduced quality of life and a reduction in life expectancy.

To improve these outcomes, MiGuide created the MiGuide lifestyle platform for patients with diabetes and their care providers. The MiGuide platform is aimed at guiding diabetes patients to change their lifestyles and behavior in a sustainable way.

The app is a (digital) personal coach for the patient. In the app, patients are coached on exercise, nutrition, and medication. This allows the patient to set exercise and nutrition goals. For each goal, the patient is given challenges to achieve that goal every day in small steps and will then be coached on this.

The uniqueness of the platform is that it is a specialist “open” care platform, which is integrated with General Practitioner’s information systems and easy to integrate and connect with other care systems.

MiGuide has the following functionalities around Lifestyle coaching:

– Linked to NHG (Dutch College of General Practitioners) guidelines

– Linked to patients’ medical files with all General Practitioner information systems used in the Netherlands (including CGM,, the market leader in Germany).

-Exercise module

-Food diary with > 50.000 items

-Individual care plan, goals, and target values

-Digital knowledge base for all questions about diabetes and lifestyle

-Consult preparation to guide consultation and to reduce no-shows

-Access to medical file to increase insight

-Filling in measurement values to enable self-measurements

-Notifications to activate patients

What are the core values upon which your organization is built?

Our mission:

“Supporting patients and professionals with lifestyle medicine so that both experience the benefits of lasting lifestyle changes”

Our core values:

  • Patient driven
  • Trustworthy
  • Optimism
  • Freedom

Being an experienced leader, share your opinion on how the adoption of modern technologies has impacted the healthcare industry and how is your company adapting to the change?

We believe that, considering the complexity of the field and the immaturity of the field, finding the right product market fit for life style change is the key factor for Diabetes lifestyle companies like MiGuide. So we have to be flexible and lean – focused on the wishes and requirements of the patient. We must support the patient journey. Enrich the patient journey through proven behavior  change methodology. And following our ethos, optimism, it should be a positive and social experience.

Considering the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you plan to navigate through similar situations in the future?

Digital-first is the key. The aim of MiGuide is to ensure that patients learn what a healthy lifestyle is and what they can do, at their own level, to change their lifestyle. Self-management and self-direction is essential: by having this foundation, the patient can maintain a healthier lifestyle on their own.

MiGuide also aims to reduce the workload of general practitioners and their assistants. By gaining more insight into the patient, a practice can ‘choose’ which patients need a consultation and which may be doing fine without. In addition, consultations are shorter and more efficient: conversations are substantiated with data from the app and patients can prepare their consultation and send it to the practice.

As an established industry leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare sector?

For society healthcare consumption and aging populations is an enormous drain on governmental budgets.

The core of the solution should add efficiency and be cost effective to scale . In order to achieve this long-term plan, an understanding of the healthcare sector with its financial payment flows and interests is important. The interests of these parties, next to the patient, are key to success.

How do you envision scaling your company’s services in 2022 and beyond?

Our core strategy is to be a scalable data-driven company supporting self-management.

The annual costs of diabetes in the Netherlands are around 6.8 billion euros, of which about 25% in healthcare costs. The other costs are mainly related to labor market participation in terms of absenteeism, disability and loss of labor productivity, which are greater for patients with diabetes than the general population. Given the increasing number of patients, the costs will only increase exponentially in the coming years.

The current size, increasing number of patients, and associated costs are clear indications that current approaches aren’t enough. The healthcare sector also has to deal with a shortage of labor in the coming years.

Current care is reactive; a patient receives professional help if there are problems, it is labor-intensive, it is mainly organized face-to-face, and has too much ‘one size fits all’ approach while the onset, perpetuating factors, and the course of the disease for every patient is different. On the one hand, this is caused by the lack of good technological solutions to be able to provide care in a sufficiently personalized way and also outside the walls of the care institution, but also the system in which innovations have to be adopted and implemented is insufficiently developed.

Please give us a few testimonials of your clients/customers and a list of awards/recognitions that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

“The positive approach (assuming what CAN be done) of the coaching is a real plus.”

  • Marco Hazebroek, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching

“A great learning moment is learning to divide it into small pieces and celebrate what you have achieved. That’s so important. If you set huge goals or want to achieve everything in one go, it becomes almost unattainable.”

  • Marco Hazebroek, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching

“It’s about the power of those two, the lifestyle coach and the app and realizing why you do things.”

  • participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching pilot Grip on Diabetes

“I really benefit from the MiGuide app. It helps you achieve goals related to nutrition and exercise.”

  • Wout van Zeeland, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching

“The strength of the group sessions is the transfer of knowledge and the interaction between the participants where tips and experiences are shared.”

  • Don Bethume, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching

“By participating in this program I lost weight and now I don’t have to take medication for my diabetes”

  • Tiny van Raaij, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching

“By filling in the food diary, I sometimes get scared of how many calories are in something. So I’m pressed against the facts. And that helps!”

  • Tiny van Raaij, participant MiGuide lifestyle coaching



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