Natalie Vellutini
Natalie is a LifeOmic 2022 summer intern working with the biomedical and content teams. She is currently a M.D. candidate at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Natalie is interested in how technology can be used to address inefficiencies in the clinical setting and improve health literacy.

Natalie Vellutini
Natalie is a LifeOmic 2022 summer intern working with the biomedical and content teams. She is currently a M.D. candidate at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Natalie is interested in how technology can be used to address inefficiencies in the clinical setting and improve health literacy.

Primary care providers help patients better manage their chronic health conditions and  overall wellness. Often, these visits revolve around medications and dosages. The more challenging aspect of treating patients is initiating discussions about lifestyle– or diet, exercise, and wellness.  

This is because lifestyle is something extremely personal that has been molded over time. Lifestyle includes behaviors that relate to one’s culture and identity – it’s how people spend their free time. Therefore, it is typically much easier to add one quick step to a patient’s day, such as taking a pill, than it is to restructure their entire routine. Further, many lifestyle behaviors are subjective in nature – they’re difficult to measure. But, what if there was an easier way for patients and physicians alike to monitor and improve lifestyle behaviors? 

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” 

The LIFE Extend mobile app contains LifeOmic’s 5 pillars of health – diet, exercise, sleep, mindfulness, and intermittent fasting – as its central paradigm. In practice, users interact with this well-rounded framework to better their lifestyle and overall health. Dr. Shelagh Fraser, Chief Medical Officer at LifeOmic and practicing internal medicine doctor in Indianapolis, believes that the application’s primary strength is to showcase where users are succeeding and falling short in their lifestyle health journeys. “Patients tend to underestimate their own bad behaviors while overestimating their good behaviors,” she says.

However, LIFE Extend puts this phenomenon to the test. Users can easily log servings of healthy fruits and vegetables, minutes of exercise and mindfulness, and hours of sleep directly into the app. They can also track their intermittent fasting durations. Over time, users can self-manage their progress and clearly visualize their strengths and weaknesses. For some, this may depict a harsher than expected reality – maybe their sleep is lacking or they consistently struggle to hit their daily exercise goals. By simply surfacing this information, LIFE Extend eliminates any ambiguity about users’ health success and failures, thus motivating them to improve.  

Practice (and positivity) make perfect

For many people, the prospect of improving their diet or increasing their fitness may seem too intimidating. In addition to allowing users to painlessly track their lifestyle behaviors, LIFE Extend also creates a sense of accomplishment through positive reinforcement. When a user records a health event – no matter how small – they receive instant gratification by seeing their pillar fill, getting them one step closer to achieving their daily goal. This breaks a major challenge, such as losing ten pounds, into many smaller, more attainable goals.

As Dr. Fraser wisely states, “The thing that I think has been demonstrated over and over again is that you can’t control a lot of things in your life, but you can control how you think about things.” LIFE Extend helps users become proud to be active participants in control of their own health. In other words, the better users feel about themselves and the steps they are taking to improve their health, the more likely they are to stay motivated to continue to build good health habits.

In her practice, Dr. Fraser has also noticed that patients who use LIFE Extend are generally paying more attention to lifestyle behaviors. As a result, they are more open and eager to discuss possible interventions during appointments. From a physician perspective, this growth in patient knowledge that LIFE Extend creates allows Dr. Fraser to more easily make personalized lifestyle recommendations. 

LIFE Extend in Clinical Practice

 Dr. Fraser’s diverse patient population consists of adults of all ages and of all health statuses– some are young and healthy but most are older and living with serious chronic conditions. Dr. Fraser recommends using LIFE Extend to nearly 40 percent of her patients. In particular, she finds greatest success with patients who have some sort of chronic issue – such as metabolic or mental disorders. This includes diabetes, hypertension, trouble losing weight, or mood disorders. Of course, in cases where drugs are indicated, she makes sure to supplement accordingly. However, she finds LIFE Extend to be a good tool for her patients to initiate and sustain lifestyle interventions. 

Recently, a patient came to Dr. Fraser interested in how they could improve their Type 2 diabetes and blood glucose level. They were already taking daily medication but were not seeing the quick results that they had desired. To address this, they expressed interest in wanting to lead a healthier life, so Dr. Fraser pointed them to the LIFE Extend app. They were familiar with how exercise and diet could improve their diabetes, but Dr. Fraser talked to them about how sleep, mindfulness, and intermittent fasting also work synergistically to improve metabolic conditions.

Since the patient had never tried intermittent fasting before, Dr. Fraser was able to work in tandem with the application to instruct her patient on safe and evidence-based ways to incorporate fasting into their routine. The combination of LIFE Extend’s tracking capability and Dr. Fraser’s support enabled this patient to achieve their health and wellness goals.


On its own, the LIFE Extend application will not cure patients’ persistent metabolic or mental disorders. To improve their health, users need to first and foremost have the motivation to make lifestyle changes. LIFE Extend then serves as a catalyst for ultimate success by incentivizing users to make healthier choices and manage their health progress. An impressive 70 percent of Dr. Fraser’s patients who use LIFE Extend report feeling better physically and more in control of their health. Beyond that, Dr. Fraser has often seen their conditions improve in tangible ways. “For me, my greatest success is having patients on the fewest number or lowest doses of medication,” Dr. Fraser states. The LIFE Extend application, therefore, ensures Dr. Fraser and her patients reach their professional and personal health goals, respectively.