Virtual health coaching is on the rise. As a multi-billion dollar industry, it’s safe to say that this trend won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. But what is the impact? All indications suggest that it is good! When people take an interest in their health, it can help them prevent long-term medical events. In this article, we talk about the value of virtual health coaching in the context of a wide preventative health service strategy.
What are Virtual Coaches?
Virtual coaches meet with patients online to talk about their healthcare needs. This can include sessions to provide advice on everything from their physical health to their diet and nutrition. Usually used as a supplementary extension of healthcare, these coaches help people improve their overall health so that they achieve better outcomes in the future. The healthcare system benefits as well. Preventative care is one of the most important aspects of working the kinks out of the United States healthcare system.
Preventative care can:
- Can decrease the cost of healthcare for everyone. One of the reasons that healthcare is so expensive is that hospitals have enormous overhead. Not only are the massive buildings open and staffed every second of every day, but they are filled with expensive equipment and medication.
Hospitals set their prices based on their prices, and on the fact that not everyone who comes into the hospital will actually be able to pay for the treatment they get. Good preventative care reduces the risk for hospitals by improving the overall health of the community. Fewer high-ticket calls make the healthcare system more affordable for everyone.
- Save hospitals an enormous amount of time. Wellness visits are so much easier for hospitals to handle than chronic, life-threatening conditions. By reducing the number of high-priority incidents, hospitals don’t just reduce their expenses. They also help contribute to a future in which the entire system is less clogged up. Fewer people need major care. Those who do can get it easily thanks to the de-clogged healthcare system.
Virtual health coaches play an important role in this process. Not only do they make healthcare more accessible, but they also allow patients to get highly personalized health recommendations that they can use to improve their long-term outcomes.
Though still relatively obscure in the broader context of the American healthcare system, virtual coaching already has an enormous pool of users. The industry is currently worth $7 billion. The number only grows as more and more people look to prioritize their health in ways that are both effective and convenient.
That’s what virtual health coaches do, but how does this translate into better healthcare outcomes?
One of the biggest segments of the virtual coaching industry pertains to physical fitness. Since Covid hit, more and more people have looked for ways to work out from the comfort of their homes. It’s accessible because you don’t have to commute. It’s affordable because you don’t have to fork over $40 and one of your kids each month for the price of a gym membership.
And it’s also less intimidating.
Right! Gyms are full of, you know. Gym people. I don’t want them to watch me figure out how to turn on a treadmill.
Many people share your concern. Will a modest investment in equipment and a virtual coach, many people are having their workouts at home. This helps contribute to weight loss, while also improving overall fitness — both important factors that can lead to better long-term patient impacts.
If you are a healthy weight now, you are less likely to experience cardiovascular events and other serious health outcomes in the future.
Diet is another important element of improving your health. Not only do balanced meals help regulate your weight, but they also ensure that your body is getting exactly what it needs to function at the highest possible level.
Virtual health coaches that specialize in diet can help people make meal plans that are designed to meet all of their health needs. Again, the result is straightforward: better daily health choices lead to improved future outcomes.
Then there are wellness coaches. People who help you to look after your mental and emotional help. They might emphasize the value of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and so on. This is an important element of preventative care because stress and anxiety can have negative impacts on long-term health that aren’t so different from that of poor nutrition.
Inflammation, high blood pressure, and elevated heart rates are all consequences of anxiety that can be mitigated by the services of an online health coach. While this should in no way be seen as a substitution for clinical care, it is an important and powerful way for people to take control of their mental and emotional health.
The Big Drawback
Information quality is the big hurdle. A “virtual health coach,” is a largely self-appointed position. You have trainers, doctors, and nutrition experts in the pool, but also people whose most significant credential seems to be that they have a strong following on Instagram.
If you are considering the services of a health coach, do a deep dive into their credentials. Find out what their background is, what sort of data their approach to health has produced, and what other experts in the industry think of how they go about their business.
Bad medical advice is usually worse than none at all. You’re showing initiative simply by looking into this service. Show a little more and make sure it gets done right.