At age 67, Joe has type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. In the past month, Joe’s son has had to call 911 twice when he found himself experiencing an insulin reaction and severe hypoglycemia. During a recent telehealth visit with Joe’s care manager, Vanessa, Joe’s son shared that he notices Joe often misses taking his insulin at the right time. At the end of the call, Vanessa set two goals for helping Joe better manage his health. First, improving his medication adherence. Second, modifying his nutrition and safely increasing his physical activity.
Below, we walk through a few vignettes with Vanessa and Joe to highlight how Vanessa leverages health education tactics and tools within HELIOS to help (1) improve Joe’s medication adherence; (2) reinforce knowledge and understanding for overall care plan adherence; and (3) help Joe to create and implement healthier lifestyle choices (nutrition and exercise).
Goal: Increase Medication Adherence through Education
Using the library of Healthwise educational resources in HELIOS, Vanessa selects some articles and videos that clearly outline the benefits of insulin adherence, as well as the risks of non-adherence. She tailors the content to find some that highlight risks specific to Joe’s age and other related health conditions. Because the content is already in HELIOS, compiling and personalizing the content takes minutes, and she can automatically send it in just a few clicks.
Medication adherence, so closely tied to health outcomes, is a critical area of health education for patients with chronic conditions. According to 2022 research by Dovepress, patients with diabetes who received educational support from pharmacists showed significant improvement in medication adherence.
By selecting educational content that matches Joe’s specific health needs, Vanessa is hoping to increase the chances that he’ll internalize the information – and act on it by adhering more closely to his insulin regimen.
Goal: Assess Member’s Knowledge and Reinforce Learning
Vanessa receives an alert through the platform signaling Joe’s receipt of the educational resources. Using HELIOSvisit, she and Joe connect via a virtual follow-up appointment to review the questions Joe has related to the content and his medication plan.
Reinforcing what a patient has learned helps ensure better retention. HELIOS allows care managers to send the resources directly to the member (via the file exchange feature in HELIOSvisit) and then track and report on a patient’s interactions with content. Care managers can see when content is opened and viewed, then set up follow-up conversations. This helps care managers to close the loop with timely follow-up efforts, such as:
- Assessing how well the patient understands the information (e.g., by using the “teach-back” method).
-Does the member have questions?
-Are there any gaps in knowledge?
- Providing any additional guidance and education the patient needs.
- Using built-in telehealth video tools to assess and evaluate how well the patient is responding to the educational content and absorbing the information provided.
– Did the member comprehend the written materials?
– What questions remain that the member still needs answered?
– Would visuals like illustrated instructions and infographics resonate better?
– Is the member an auditory or visual learner for whom podcasts or videos would work best?
– Does the member learn best with a hands-on demonstration of equipment and devices?
Goal: Educate the Member About Healthy Lifestyle Changes
A few weeks go by. Joe seems to be more consistently following his insulin schedule and has stayed out of the emergency department. Vanessa decides it’s time to start working on nutrition changes and introduce an exercise plan.
As she’s gotten to know Joe and asked for feedback on the education resources, she’s learned that video is a particularly effective learning modality for him. Using the content library, she compiles some videos demonstrating exercises appropriate for Joe’s age and physical condition, as well as a suggested daily diet plan matching his nutrition needs.
Education can motivate patients to make lifestyle changes to support better health. A 2022 study reported in The Ochsner Journal concluded that patients who received video education on dietary changes were more motivated to stick to a diet plan and engaged more often with healthcare professionals about nutrition. The study also found that patients responded more favorably to education when it was personalized to their needs and preferences.
Goal: Help the Patient Access High-Quality Nutrition
After getting an alert that Joe had received the new resources, Vanessa schedules a follow-up call. Although Joe demonstrates comprehension of the materials, he tells Vanessa that incorporating fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins isn’t always an option. When he’s unable to get a ride to the supermarket, he relies on neighborhood mini-markets for groceries, which don’t consistently stock these items.
Vanessa realizes access to healthy food and transportation are key health-related social issues for Joe. In other words, Vanessa has discovered a gap in Joe’s ability to self-manage his condition: reliable access to the high-quality nutrition he needs.
Vanessa turns back to HELIOS. his time to search for a food bank with refrigeration capabilities close to Joe’s address and options for transportation help in his community. She knows the food bank can’t be too far either. Short walks are in his exercise plan, but he has mild diabetic neuropathy that affects his calves and feet.
She’s able to locate a community partner: a church food pantry less than two blocks from Joe’s house where fresh fruit, vegetables, and eggs are available once a week. Vanessa also sends Joe a list of shelf-stable foods that he can fall back on when fresh produce and proteins are hard to find, as well as the contact information for a community ride program for seniors in the area that could help Joe get to the larger grocery store further away twice a month.
The Results: Increased Trust & Knowledge for Whole-Person Care
By leveraging the network of partners and integrations within HELIOS, Vanessa was able to provide effective education and support, reinforce knowledge and communications, identify a critical care gap, and supply solutions for Joe’s food insecurity challenge.
The results? Joe is now more informed, empowered, and engaged in managing his own condition and actively participating in positive lifestyle changes. His son can breathe easier knowing his dad is taking better care of himself.
The Benefits of Educating Patients with Chronic Conditions are Many
The more people know about their chronic condition, the more likely they are to engage in self-management, according to a study published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. The study followed patients with a chronic condition who received 45 extra minutes with a healthcare professional to discuss their diagnosis, prescriptions, and preventive measures.
At their 3-month follow-up visit, these patients displayed a host of positive changes, many of which can lead to better health outcomes. Patients with extra time and more information saw the following benefits.
- Showed more constructive attitudes toward health
- Were able to better navigate health services
- Demonstrated better self-monitoring
- Were more positive and actively engaged in their health
- Improved emotional well-being
And the above vignettes help paint a realistic picture of what’s possible to accomplish with a medical management platform that provides integrated health education content. And with HELIOS and the Healthwise integration, care managers can:
- Access a library of evidence-based health education content designed for easy comprehension from Healthwise
- Personalize education content so that it meets patients’ health literacy level
- Deliver materials within a few clicks
- Receive automated alerts when a patient engages with content, triggering reminders for timely follow-up
- Schedule virtual appointments for convenient, quick follow-up and additional coaching