Featured Articles                                                                                   August 2008, Vol. I, No. 4
CIGNA's "One-Stop Shopping" Pairs Individual with Personal Health Advocate

It takes hard work to be healthy — and CIGNA knows it. That's why they are taking steps to make it easier. CIGNA's "one-stop shopping" service combines behavioral healthcare, lifestyle management programs, case management, DM, health coaching and EAPs under one roof. Program participants only need to call one phone number to connect with a personal health advocate who will guide them to the help they need — from advice on nutrition or help with managing stress, to resources for coping with all of the aspects of a major illness. The model relies on teams of healthcare professionals skilled in using the company’s unique method of health coaching.

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Quotable: Promoting Self-Efficacy to Drive Change

"Ultimately, self-efficacy is the locomotive of change. How people perceive themselves in relation to their ability to change is the driving force behind behavior modification. Individuals must be able to see themselves as capable of making changes for themselves."
                                        — Dr. Richard Citrin, vice president of EAP Solutions, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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Measuring ROI for Corporate Health and Wellness Programs

When it comes to implementing a successful health and wellness program, understanding your employees health risks is critical, but getting them to change is key. Companies are implementing wellness programs to reduce healthcare costs and increase their bottom line, but how should they measure ROI? Ask your employees questions. The ConvergenceHealth Assessment Manager allows health coaches and EAP admins to customize surveys for their employees. Byron Gehring, CEO for ConvergenceHealth states, "To comprehend the full scope of your ROI, you need to survey employees on their level of engagement and satisfaction with their wellness programs and experience. If you don't get feedback on what you're doing, you won't know all the success factors in reaching your goals." The Total Health Profile released by ConvergenceHealth is the newest version of the company's individual HRA report, and it aims at focusing on more than just biometrics data. Using a wellness coach in addition to a comprehensive reporting tool allows for real change to occur and to be measured.

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Changing Behavior Through Coaching

Change a belief and you'll change a behavior, says Allyson Faist, president and CEO of MEDeCoach. There is a formula to the frequency and format of health coach contacts that will engage a client and ways to handle a client who has received conflicting information from the Internet on a health management issue. An integrated system where the coach and client are on the same IT platform increases the chances for successful, collaborative coaching.

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Health Coach Calls: Preparing for Difficult Coaching Situations

Question: How do you train coaches to deal with questions where it may be a reportable incident to authorities, such as abuse of children or illegal uses of drugs?

Response: We have a book of policies and procedures to cover most of those things, but we also have procedures for people who are abusive in their language to a coach, who present with suicidal ideation, or who make statements about homicidal thoughts. You have to cover every eventuality because coaches engage more people at a worksite than any other provider. Health coaches, typically you’re going to engage as much as 60 percent of a population. When you do that, you’re going to uncover things that you weren’t counting on.

(Roger Reed is executive vice president for market operations, Gordian Health Solutions.)

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