Featured Articles                                                                                     April 2009, Vol. I, No. 12
Enhanced Health Portal Improves User Experience

Nationwide Better HealthSM launched a health portal to simplify distribution of health and wellness information and boost program participation for its clients. The portal allows users to enroll in a variety of coach-supported and self-management health and wellness programs on weight management, nutrition, stress management, tobacco cessation and physical activity. The health portal offers a variety of health education resources and tools, including an “ask a health coach” e-mail communication tool, interactive participant health surveys, online video library with participant testimonials, webinars on a variety of health topics, a health newsfeed with up to 20 new articles each day and more.

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Quotable: Small Steps Can Lead to Big Success

"When you move into the preparation stage of change, the biggest downfall is that people often will set goals that are just way too big. It may have been suggested to them that they lose 50 pounds or start an exercise program seven days a week. Whatever the behavior is, if they don’t have the self-efficacy and a very specific plan to get there, their likelihood of failure is huge. During the preparation stage, it is important to determine the best course of action in very small steps — creating steps that are small enough so people are confident that they can do them, but big enough that they’re interesting or challenging and move them in the direction that they want to take themselves.”
                                        — Ruth Wolever, Ph.D, clinical health psychologist and director of research at Duke Integrative Medicine.

Get more information on benchmarks in health coaching.

Aetna Offers New Suite of Health and Wellness Programs for Worksite

Aetna is offering worksite health and wellness services to employers via a product suite called Aetna Health Connections Direct2YouSM. Employers who purchase the program choose from a menu of programs and services best suited for their employees including biometric screening, counseling and acute care services. Throught the health and wellness component, Aetna will directly provide DM coaching, wellness counseling and pharmacy consultations staffed by Aetna nurses, clinicians and pharmacists. For employers who choose to offer pharmacy consultations, an onsite Aetna pharmacist will provide individual face-to-face counseling sessions with employees. Research shows that onsite programs using face-to-face coaching and motivational interviewing techniques result in higher engagement levels than telephonic-only delivery of programs. Morever, reports indicate that enrollment rates in programs delivered face-to-face are significantly higher than programs delivered via telephone — 79 percent vs. 25 percent.

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Health Coaching ROI
According to Paul Terry, Ph.D., president and CEO of StayWell Health Management, when evaluating health coaching and population health programs, it is rare to see a return on investment in a program's first year, but generally by the second and third years, ROI begins to build. In addition to discussing ROI trends, Terry evaluates the value of self-reported data and the impact health coaching can have on an organization's productivity, presenteeism and absenteeism, and also gives some benchmarks for ROI in health coaching.

Listen to podcast here.

Health Coach Calls: E-Coaching vs. Telephonic Coaching

Question: When might a Web-based coaching approach be more valuable than telephonic support? Are there specific populations or conditions that might respond better to a Web-based program?

Response: (John Harris) There are two reasons why e-coaching might be a better choice in some cases. The first would be the person’s learning style. We all learn differently. We all have different amounts of time; we all have different levels of self-motivation. A combination of your learning style, adapted way of learning, amount of self-motivation and self-starter qualities are all factors in determining the best venue of assistance. For people who are relatively self-motivated, the Web can be a very efficient way to work. They don’t have to take as much time and they can do it on their own terms. People that have that kind of style often will gravitate and be successful in Web environments. The other situation involves people who are lower in risk. Often people who are at low-risk will respond to poll programs, meaning that just by their very nature they are excited and interested in keeping good health. They will gravitate toward tools if they find them compelling, interesting and useful and in those situations Web-based tools can be very valuable. Those with serious risk factors are probably not ideal for an e-coaching type of approach. For people who are very overweight, who have been smoking for years, who have poor nutrition and just haven’t been able to change or haven’t exercised in years, the likelihood that they’ll wake up one day and go to a Web site or any other form of e-coaching and change their world is relatively small. These patients can survive telephonically.

(John Harris is senior vice president of the health support division of Healthways.)

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Integrative medicine includes the best of conventional medicine but redefines health to include the person's body, mind, spirituality and community — with a special focus on the patient-practitioner bond. Borrowing from integrative medicine, "Health Coaching for Behavior Change: Motivational Interviewing Methods and Practice" presents motivational interviewing skills and how they can be used to invite and elicit behavior change and impact health coaching outcomes.

Get more information on health coaching for behavior change.

Coaching Focuses on Health Behavior, Motivation and Readiness to Change

Health coaches are at the heart of today's healthcare continuum, reflecting an industry shift from simply targeting chronic conditions to addressing all conditions within the DM spectrum, with an emphasis on wellness and prevention. With data from real-life coaching initiatives, this white paper provides an overview of health coaching, the behavioral theories and training that support it and commentary from organizations that have implemented health coaching to reduce healthcare costs and improve population outcomes.

Download complimentary white paper here.



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