Customized programs help keep employees healthy
Customized programs help keep employees healthy
Efforts are tailored to the individual
Focused Health Solutions' customized population management programs have generated a 15.7% net savings on medical claims and 30.8% net savings from medical claims reduction and productivity improvement for large self-insured employers.
The Deerfield, IL-based health management firm contracts with employers to provide wellness/lifestyle and disease management programs for their employees.
"These employers know that by keeping their employees healthy, they save health care costs, reduce absenteeism, and benefit the members as well," says Randy Granata, RN, BC, MSN, clinical educator for the company.
The company's disease management programs provide education coaching and health management techniques to individuals with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma, and behavioral health issues.
In addition, the company offers a variety of self-management and personal health coaching programs that focus on managing costly risk factors and prevention of disease.
They are: Start to Stop Smoking; Weight Loss for Life; Reduce the Pressure for anyone with blood pressure above 120/80; Healthy Backs and Necks; Achieving Balance, a stress reduction program; and Exercise for Life for individuals who report less than the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week.
"In choosing what programs to offer, we looked at the global risk factors that impact chronic diseases and focused on wellness activities that prevent the incidence of chronic disease. We coach employees to improve modifiable health behaviors and focus on prevention before an employee develops a chronic condition," Granata says.
When a company signs on with Focused Health Solutions, its employees are asked to take an online health risk assessment to determine their health care needs and appropriateness for the programs. They are asked if they would like to be contacted by a personal health coach to review the results of the assessment.
The company shares the information it obtains from the health risk assessments and works with the employees only on the aggregate level; employees' individual information remains confidential.
The health risk assessment asks employees for laboratory values and vital signs such as cholesterol and blood sugar readings, blood pressure readings, and body mass index, along with their activity level, personal lifestyle, and knowledge of healthy behavior.
If the information indicates that the employee already has a chronic disease, the company's integrated service delivery model and technology platform transfer the individual to a disease management program.
"Our model incorporates an assessment of an employee's readiness to change. Our wellness programs use an intensive interactive coaching model that is different from a disease management coaching model. People who are at risk for development of a chronic disease condition participate in weekly coaching sessions in order to improve their health status by changing negative behaviors," Granata says.
The health coaches schedule appointments to speak with the individuals in the program on a weekly basis. In some instances, the employer allows the employee to work with the health coach during working hours.
The coaches work with participants to set three "smart goals" they can meet on a weekly basis and work with employees to develop strategies for reaching the goals.
"'Smart goals' are specific, measurable, achievable realities, and time-bound. Personal health coaches work with each person to set goals that are meaningful for them and that represent small steps to lasting behavioral change," she says.
For instance, a goal might be to walk for 15 minutes a day or to eat additional fruits or vegetables during the week.
Participants receive a "care kit" with tools and educational materials they can use to meet their goals.
"Our goal is to educate the employees about the process of making lasting changes in their lifestyles and to give them the tools to make the changes," she says.
Employees work with a personal health coach for 14 weeks and receive periodic maintenance telephone calls after completing the program.
Depending on an individual's risk factors, he or she may take health risk assessments up to four times a year. This gives the employee the opportunity to participate in an additional coaching program.
For instance, if an individual succeeds with the smoking cessation program and qualifies for the weight loss program, he or she can work on losing weight in the second round of coaching.
(For more information, contact: Randy Granata, RN, BC, MSN, clinical educator, Focused Health Solutions. E-mail: [email protected].)Focused Health Solutions' customized population management programs have generated a 15.7% net savings on medical claims and 30.8% net savings from medical claims reduction and productivity improvement for large self-insured employers.
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