Employer Solutions | one year ago

Pillars of Healthcare - One-on-One Guidance

By Daniel J. Birach, President, Carolinas HealthCare System, HEALTHWORKS Division

From a morning cup of coffee to the latest technology to a health and wellness program, people want products and services that can be customized to their personal preferences.

Providing personalized healthcare options does more than simply satisfy the customer. Data shows that employees are more likely to engage with their healthcare provider as they pursue defined health and wellness goals when their care is tailored to their lifestyle.

We recently discussed how plan and program flexibility can be one of the key ways that employers and healthcare providers can deliver on this need for a personalized approach to health. It can also be beneficial to ensure that employees have access to one-on-one health coaching and guidance as they work to tackle new or chronic health challenges.

Healthcare Pillar Three — One-on-One Guidance

Extended relationships make for successful, long-term healthcare. When a patient works with the same provider or within the same group of providers over time, it is far easier to track health markers and monitor progress of different protocols and programs. This success is due to a few factors. The provider understands the intricacies of the patient’s medical history and their challenges with establishing a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the patient and medical professional relationship develops a bond based on trust and familiarity.

This is why health programs that include one-on-one guidance are so impactful. The patient receives a personalized approach to his or her treatment while working with a medical professional they trust. With this individualized attention, we also see patients develop a sense of accountability to their health coach, which adds an extra layer of motivation to stick to their health program.

While some extreme cases may require long-term monitoring, often an employee can see substantial benefits by working with a health coach. The coach is able to analyze a person’s health background and develop a plan to address their specific needs. They also serve as a guide to put the patient on the right track as they make necessary lifestyle adjustments, such as exercise and nutrition choices. Once the changes are implemented, weekly check-ins with the coach likely will not be necessary, but the coach can be available for follow-ups and plan adjustments.

In the modern workplace, there are a few ways that companies can provide one-on-one attention for employees.

In-person health coaching — Either at an on-site clinic or an off-site provider, a health coach meets face-to-face with an individual to craft a plan that will address specific health concerns, including nutrition, fitness and lifestyle adjustments. The coach and patient will meet in person, typically between three and five times, to go over the plan and to monitor progress.

 The in-person model is highly successful as data shows that participants are far more likely to remain engaged with their health when holding face-to-face meetings.

Virtual health coaching — As we shared in a recent post, virtual health coaching offers one-on-one guidance from a trained healthcare provider combined with the flexibility to access care in a time and manner that is convenient for the employee. Virtual health coaching programs are already showing very high engagement rates, which translates into an employee’s stronger commitment to a healthy lifestyle in the long term.

Do employees at your company work with health coaches in a one-on-one fashion? What sort of results have you seen? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter (@HEALTHWORKS) and on LinkedIn. And keep watching the Info Hub. In our next post, we’ll talk about the fourth pillar of successful healthcare employee engagement and how buy in by staff can benefit both the company and the individual.  


See how Steve lost more than 100 pounds through health coaching.