Featured Articles                                                   February 2010, Vol. II, No. 10
Health Coaching, Prevention Incentives Part of Plan to Improve Healthcare for Iowa Farmers

A new program to help Iowa Farm Bureau members not yet eligible for Medicare reduce health risks and live longer, healthier lives will include one-on-one health coaching and incentives for health and prevention efforts.

U.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. will partner with the Iowa Chronic Care Consortium (ICCC) to launch the two-year program, funded equally by the CDC and the ICCC and available to approximately 500 Iowa Farm Bureau members and their spouses on a first-come basis.

Program participants can earn yearly incentives, including an immediate incentive for completing a health risk assessment (HRA) and blood tests and an additional incentive at year-end for improving prevention scores through active participation in the program.

U.S. Preventive Medicine's health improvement program, The Prevention Plan™, will help Iowa Farm Bureau members:

  • Identify their top health risks through a blood test and online questionnaire;
  • Follow customized action programs to reduce health risks, including one-on-one health coaching by registered nurse advocates;
  • Access a personalized Web site to store medical information, complete educational health programs and receive reminders about needed screenings;
  • Measure progress using The Prevention Score™, an innovative tool that measures preventive efforts throughout the year.

To be eligible, participants must have access to high-speed Internet, be a rural Iowa resident between the ages of 48 and 63 and not receive primary insurance through the Farm Bureau.

Get more information here.

Quotable: Coaching Preferences Among Males

"We found that across our book of business we tend to have significantly fewer males in an employee population who want to participate in a telephonic coaching model, as compared to females. But when we look at the Web-based message boarding interaction with our coaches, it is a much higher participation of males in that Web-based model. It's providing those multiple options for interaction that can drive the success of the overall program."
                                        — Dr. Jim Reynolds, chief medical officer of Health Fitness Corporation.

Learn more about measuring health coaching ROI.

Mobile Text Messaging Programs Designed to Modify Unhealthy Behaviors

Two new mobile text message programs assist people in changing unhealthy behaviors by sending text messages that encourage specific health behaviors at the times and in the places people need it most.

Mobile Health Interventions is behind the launch of the text messaging applications, Health Txts and Custom Txts. Health Txts assists people in changing unhealthy behaviors by sending text messages that encourage specific health behaviors. For example, someone may receive a message at 10 p.m. saying "only floss the teeth you want to keep." Health Txts can be used for nearly any self-improvement goal.

Custom Txts is an open access application available for free that enables healthcare professionals to create their own text messaging programs for their clients. For example, a drug treatment program may create a messaging template for all clients to keep them on track after they leave the program. Once the messaging template is created, it is available for use by their clients through Health Txts.

"The mobile phone is transforming how health services are delivered," explained Dr. Frederick Muench, clinical psychologist and founder of Mobile Health Interventions. "There is now substantial evidence that text messaging health programs are effective adjunctive and standalone interventions for a range of behaviors. We are very pleased to be able to provide this simple yet powerful program to help people stay motivated to change in the face of constant environmental and internal triggers for an extremely low price."

Read the full article here.

Heading Off High-Cost Complications by Assessing Risk in the Elderly
Even though more than a third of the elderly are online, they're not necessarily using the Internet to seek health assistance, explains Marcia Wade, M.D., F.C.C.P., M.M.M., senior medical director at Aetna Medicare. That's why Aetna delivers its HRA for the elderly in an alternate format while making available other Web-based tools to Web-savvy boomer beneficiaries. Dr. Wade also describes Aetna's user-friendly strategy for heading off high-risk complications among its elderly and how this contributes to an overall reduction in hospital readmissions.

Listen to podcast here.

Measuring Productivity, Presenteeism and Absenteeism

Question: How do you measure the impact of health coaching on productivity, presenteeism and absenteeism? Are employees harder on themselves when self-reporting?

Response: It is possible through a couple of different measures. There are certain HRAs that measure productivity — that self-report from the individual on their level of productivity — and we can associate that with certain chronic illnesses. We can also measure it by looking at leave administration data and absences, tracked in association with chronic illness. We haven't done an analysis of the self-reporting data. Because it's a confidential measure and there are no risks associated with the individual, they're probably honest about how much they're absent, but not necessarily hard on themselves.

(Darcy Hurlbert, health and wellness product specialist at Ceridian LifeWorks.)

Learn more about the practicalities of health coaching from 34 health coaching experts.

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Get more information on three coaching models for behavior change.

2010 Case Management Benchmarks: Focus on Care Transitions and Continuity

Healthcare case managers are playing a larger role in the coordination of all phases of patient care. This executive summary of responses from 187 healthcare organizations reveals an increasing reliance on case management to more closely direct care for high-risk patients so that unnecessary health costs and utilization can be avoided.

Download complimentary white paper here.

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