virtual health coachingEarlier this monoth we attended the mHealth World Congress in Boston, Massachusetts where we hosted a panel, Impact of mHealth on Wellness and User Engagement. The conference was held jointly with the Telehealth Congress conference and featured an industry ‘who’s who’ of mobile healthcare and telehealth companies. One interesting take-away for us was the use of the term “Virtual Health Coaching”.

With the rise of mHealth (mobile health) as a key industry term, we had assumed that the health coaching space would coin the term “mobile health coaching” to reference remote, real-time interaction between a health coach and consumers. As we’ve interacted more with others in the mHealth space we’ve discovered that ‘virtual health coaching’ is being used more frequently to reference this paradigm. The word virtual actually presents a more accurate picture than mobile.  More than simply utilizing mobile devices (such as smartphones) the shift to virtual health coaching describes the interaction of mobile, desktop, and cloud-based technologies converging to help a remote health coach better serve consumers, virtually.

Virtual health coaching will continue to evolve as more companies realize the benefit of a connected personal adviser to consumers. Although automated systems can intelligently provide feedback to consumers on their health and wellness, a human interaction still allows for a more personalized approach. By syncing consumers data to mobile and web-based devices, a virtual health coach can interact in real time and effectively encourage and monitor progress.

Just as important are the incentives behind consumer adoption of a virtual health coaching system. Implementing a rewards programs and/or penalties for compliance (or non-compliance) via gamification or other means can ensure long term usage and better outcomes. A robust dashboard for advisers to monitor progress and effectively communicate with those under their care is critical. To efficiently administer a virtual health coaching system, tools should incorporate monitoring of many consumers through an intuitive interface, and two way messaging.

Virtual or mobile – either way, the shift is occurring to a more comprehensive approach to consumer engagement. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about BettrLife’s virtual health coaching platform and how it can benefit your organization.

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