Guest post by INTERVENT

Consumers today expect an engaging healthcare experience that meets expectations – connecting with members in their everyday lives, both interpersonally and digitally. As such, health and wellness programs that offer health coaching partnered with the use of digital health devices are seeing particular success in their ability to engage participants and improve outcomes.

George Cuzzola, an INTERVENT lifestyle health coaching program participant, and John Thiel, an INTERVENT health coach, shared their experiences using connected health devices in health coaching programs. INTERVENT provides participants the ability to synch activity trackers and/or connected health devices to their behavior change and population health management programs and coaches use this data to power discussion during coaching calls. Thiel, who is Cuzzola’s coach, noted the core value of this data for coaches: the ability to better personalize feedback.

“I can provide them with compliments and sincere praise for all their efforts based off of real data,” said Thiel. “I can also ask questions about recent data, which allows my participants to explore ways to increase their efforts to improve their health, and to reflect on the barriers or challenges they might be experiencing.”

Cuzzola agrees, noting that having the data from his activity tracker shared with his coach increases his accountability. “It keeps me honest knowing that my coach, John, can access all of the information from my Fitbit and see what my trends are.” Discussing this data with his health coach helps Cuzzola to better understand how his activity is helping him track toward his health goals.

Importantly, Thiel says he sees much higher rates of engagement from participants who use a device with their coaching program. In his experience, those using a device are more likely to use their online program and resources between sessions.

For Cuzzola, the use of his activity tracker drives motivation between sessions, as well. “The biggest advantage for me is that [these devices] help you to stay focused,” he says. “They remind you every day to make good decisions regarding your health, because they track what you do.”

“With my sedentary participants, I see that wearing a tracking device throughout the day has been very helpful in getting them to become more active throughout the day,” added Thiel.

Combining Data with Interpersonal Connections

Thiel and Cuzzola agree that, ultimately, what helps drive better health is the use of personal health data from these devices to support conversations during coaching sessions.

“When we are on our coaching call, we are able to look at and discuss my activity together in real time,” says Cuzzola. “My calls with John are the carrot at the end of the stick.”

“These devices help create awareness regarding health behaviors,” agreed Thiel, but added that it’s the direct communication with participants that makes a difference.

“The data is helpful, but the discussion with the participant is really the key to helping them make and sustain healthy lifestyle habits.”

As health and wellness programs seek ways to enable prolonged engagement from members that results in real behavior change, it’s important to incorporate a variety of engagement strategies. In connecting with members both via their personal health data and via conversations with a coach, programs can drive deeper accountability. When coaches can discuss data with participants, it opens an opportunity to help individuals understand the value of the actions they take in everyday life to improve health.

INTERVENT is a customer of Validic. Views contained within this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Validic, its employees, or its affiliates.

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