Evaluating an insurer-based health coaching program

Impact of program engagement on healthcare utilization and weight loss

Natalie Reid, Wendy Bennett, Janelle Coughlin, Jennifer Thrift, Sarah Kachur, Kimberly A Gudzune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Insurers and employers are increasingly offering lifestyle and weight-loss coaching programs; however, few evaluations have examined their effectiveness. Our objectives were to determine whether level of program engagement was associated with differences in healthcare utilization and weight pre/post coaching. We conducted a retrospective evaluation of enrollees in an insurer-based telephonic health coaching program in Maryland (2013–2014). Our independent variables were program engagement benchmarks (≥3 and ≥6 sessions). Our dependent variables included change in outpatient and emergency department (ED) visits (more visits post program, fewer visits post, or no change pre-post) and associated costs (difference pre-post) using claims data. We calculated mean percent weight change from baseline. We used multivariate-adjusted linear and multinomial logistic regression, as appropriate, to examine the association between outcomes and engagement benchmarks. We included 225 enrollees with mean age 50.7 years, 81.3% women, and mean body mass index of 35.0 kg/m2. Most participants focused on weight management (75.6%) and improving general health (57.8%). Few individuals had outpatient or ED visits, and no significant changes in healthcare utilization were associated with program engagement. Among the weight management subgroup (n = 170), mean weight change was −2.1% (SD 5.1). Participants achieved significantly greater weight loss if they met the 6-session engagement benchmark (β −3.5%, p < 0.01). Weight management is a popular focus for health coaching participants, and these programs can achieve modest weight loss. Programs should consider designing and testing strategies that promote engagement, given that weight-loss success was improved if participants completed at least 6 coaching sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Fingerprint

Insurance Carriers
Weight Loss
Delivery of Health Care
Weights and Measures
Benchmarking
Health
Hospital Emergency Service
Outpatients
Weight Reduction Programs
Mentoring
Life Style
Body Mass Index
Logistic Models
Costs and Cost Analysis

Keywords

  • Health insurance
  • Health services research
  • Risk reduction behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Evaluating an insurer-based health coaching program : Impact of program engagement on healthcare utilization and weight loss. / Reid, Natalie; Bennett, Wendy; Coughlin, Janelle; Thrift, Jennifer; Kachur, Sarah; Gudzune, Kimberly A.

In: Preventive Medicine Reports, Vol. 12, 01.12.2018, p. 343-348.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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