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New Employer Study Demonstrates Virtual Health Coaching Improves Chronic Disease

inHealth | August 14, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent about a third of Americans home to work remotely and with that, employers were forced to embrace technology that supports them. Without in-person contact, employers faced many hurdles; one of them being how to support their employee’s overall health. 

According to Harvard Business Review, presenteeism is when employees show up to work but, due to illness or other medical conditions, are not fully functioning, cutting into “individual productivity by one-third or more.” When employees are disengaged, research shows U.S. companies lose anywhere from $483 to $605 billion each year to lost productivity (Source: UpCounsel). 

Arguably an employer’s most important asset is the health and wellbeing of their employees. Having to manage employee health from a new world behind screens has been an unexpected challenge. Employers need telehealth-enabled health care options to best support their employees. 

Employees living with chronic disease face an even greater challenge, as ongoing support is essential for successful health outcomes. At inHealth Lifestyle Therapeutics, by offering virtual, personalized health coaching for patients with a BMI of 30 or higher and/or living with chronic disease, we can support those employees now working at-home. 

Our Study: Lifestyle Therapy Improves Chronic Disease for Employees 

We conducted a study, now published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP), that looked at the efficacy of virtual lifestyle therapy delivered by inHealth specifically for weight loss for clinically overweight and obese patients within a large, national employer group. Here are some highlights from our study: 

  • The study enrolled 685 participants: 296 women of which 64 percent were obese and 389 men of which 62 percent were obese. 
  • The results demonstrated that: 
  • Men and women lost three percent of their weight in just three sessions. 
  • Patients with a higher initial BMI (obese) lost over four percent of their weight. 
  • There was no statistical difference in weight loss between men and women, nor an interaction between sex and BMI. 
  • Obese participants were 1.15 times more likely to lose weight compared to overweight participants. 

Key Takeaways

Obesity is a public health issue and is associated with other chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As we continue to move into a virtual world, employers are finding effective ways to improve the health of their employees, while also reducing healthcare costs. 

By offering Lifestyle Therapeutics like ours at inHealth, employers can help their employees live healthier lives and cut costs simultaneously. Our clinical health coaches support employees living with chronic disease by improving their lifestyle choices. Focusing treatment plans on lifestyle choices leads these individuals to see long-term, sustained outcomes on overall health and weight loss. And according to our recent study, telehealth-based health coaching is an effective approach for weight loss among employer populations. 

Our press release announcing the study can be found here. 

The original study can be found here. 

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