3 Ways Digital Health Solutions Support Healthier Employees
Using Digital Health Solutions for a Healthier Workforce
From fitness trackers to mobile medical apps to home blood glucose monitors, digital health technology is driving a wave of change in health delivery. Patients and healthcare providers now have access to hundreds of different intelligent digital health technologies.
But what exactly is digital health, and in what areas can it help yield important benefits for your employees? Let’s take a look at digital health and three areas where innovation can help a person make positive behavior changes: health coaching, real-time health data monitoring, and nutrition logging.
What is digital health?
Simply put, digital health helps people better manage and track their personal health and wellness-related activities and information. According to the FDA, digital health technologies can empower consumers to make better-informed decisions about their health and provide new options for facilitating prevention, early diagnosis of diseases, and management of chronic conditions.
Broadly, digital health covers a variety of categories such as mobile health tools, health information technology, wearable fitness devices, and telehealth and telemedicine. Even though the approaches and products are different, all digital health categories share a common goal: use smart connected technology and health data to help improve healthcare and health outcomes.
1. Personalized health coaching
One growing area of digital health is health coaching. Anyone who has ever played a sport knows the importance of having a supportive and knowledgeable coach. Similarly, a person with a chronic illness needs support and information to help become an effective manager of their health. Besides learning information about their disease, they frequently need ongoing support, including assistance in building the necessary skills to better manage their health.
Health coaching can be a vital tool for better chronic disease management and improved population health. By filling in the blanks between physician appointments with timely interactions, health coaches can help people manage many different conditions. Fitbit Care health coaching for example provides tracking for 100+ health and lifestyle-related metrics.
Some of the most common uses for health coaching include diabetes, heart conditions, weight-loss goals, hypertension, and mental health issues. Health coaching can also be effective to help a patient with smoking cessation as well as managing multiple chronic conditions.
2. Actionable health data monitoring
Since the first Fitbit step tracker was invented in 2007, digital health wearables have made considerable strides in providing valuable health metrics. By giving a person immediate data on their heart rate, sleep, and physical activity levels, Fitbit smartwatches and trackers can help a person identify physical changes, including heart conditions.
Over time, collected health data can become even more valuable. For example, while individually a person can use Fitbit sleep data to better understand their sleep stages, the aggregated sleep data of all Fitbit users helps researchers dig deeper into the health effects of sleep.
“The ability to track sleep unlocks significant potential for us to better understand population health and gain new insights into the mysteries of sleep and its connection to a variety of health conditions,” says Conor Heneghan, Ph.D., lead sleep research scientist at Fitbit.
3. Improving nutrition with food logging
Hand-in-hand with heart rate and sleep tracking is a third pillar of health data: nutrition. Obesity and weight loss are an ongoing battle for millions of people in the US. According to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, adult obesity rates now exceed 35 percent in seven states, 30 percent in 29 states, and 25 percent in 48 states. Fortunately, intelligent food tracking tools are coming to the rescue.
What was once an insurmountable obstacle for dieters–writing down every meal and manually
tracking calories—has evaporated with digital health. With Fitbit Health Solutions, employees get guidance and tools to stay on track toward their weight goals. They can log meals with the barcode scanner, quick calorie estimator, and meal shortcuts.
In addition, the food logging feature in the Fitbit app provides estimated macronutrient breakdowns. Macronutrients, or “macros,” are the building blocks of nutrition, and understanding them can help employees lay a solid foundation for a balanced diet and maneuver their macros for a healthier outcome.