Tapping into the Benefits of Digital Health Coaching
For your employees, setting a specific and realistic goal is an essential first step to improving their health. The second step—figuring out how to achieve the goal and staying engaged—gets exponentially harder. Here’s where health coaching might be the ticket to success.
Health coaching platforms such as Fitbit Care health coaching, which uses the Fitbit Plus app, helps people take ownership of their health by providing the essential human touch through engaging technology. It can be delivered by a variety of different health professionals, including certified health coaches, dietitians, nutritionists, registered nurses, diabetes educators, nurse practitioners, and physicians. Some of the most common uses for health coaching include management of type 2 diabetes and heart conditions, weight-loss goals, smoking cessation, and mental health issues.
If you are considering a health coaching platform, here’s a quick look at three of the benefits.
1. Health coaching provides a multi-touch health experience. Because digital health coaching enables personalized care and one-on-one communication between a patient and a care provider or coach, it can help improve the lives of people who are making behavior changes and need ongoing guidance or motivation to sustain these changes.
With digital coaching, a person’s health experience can blend seamlessly into their daily life, which can make it more effective. Digital coaching tools enable patients to engage on their own terms and on their own time, without having to go to a physician’s office.
Digital coaching can provide multi-modal communication between the coach and individual via text messaging, phone calls, and video available on a mobile phone, tablets, laptop, or desktop computer. And a coach utilizing Fitbit Care health coaching can easily follow up, as Fitbit Care provides automatic completion of health actions and data collection when synced to Fitbit devices
2. Health coaching can help people to manage chronic conditions. Health coaching can be useful for general wellness coaching as well as more complex care and chronic disease management, including individuals with type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Patients with chronic illness need more support and information to become effective managers of their own health. Besides information about their diseases, they frequently need ongoing support, including assistance in building the necessary skills to manage their health.
“In health coaching, it’s all about guiding your clients or your patients to move positively toward change,” says Melinda Huffman, MSN, co-founder of the National Society of Health Coaches. A health coach can tailor a program to personal goals, making ongoing recommendations to reflect where a person is on their road to behavior change.
Coaching is particularly useful in chronic care, as people managing a condition over a long period of time may have difficulty staying engaged. In fact, according to the Journal of Medical Internet Research cited in this Fitbit Health Solutions report, chronic care management programs often have dropout rates as high as 80 percent. The research notes that collaboration among patients, clinicians, and health coaches is essential in chronic care management. Their study points to the importance of combining user-friendly eHealth technology with regular face-to-face consultations.
3. Health coaching adds accountability. Health coaching participants benefit from having an objective, non-judgemental person to help hold them accountable. Add to that the convenience of technology, and it’s a win-win. Fitbit Care’s health coaching program – which combines human health coaches with technology – has helped individuals reach their goals faster than traditional coaching. Based on a study using aggregate data from 200 hypertensives across UPenn and Carolinas HealthCare system, after one year, patients with Fitbit Care health coaching reached 89 percent of their target blood pressure attainment, while those with traditional clinical care reached far less (30 percent) of their target blood pressure attainment.