High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer,” because it often doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s already caused damage to the body. Unfortunately, this means that many people who have high blood pressure don’t take steps to improve their health until they’ve already experienced a traumatic, and expensive, health problem such as a heart attack or stroke.
Health plan professionals know that the best way to prevent the negative outcomes of high blood pressure is to encourage members to treat high blood pressure as soon as possible. But how can you convince your members to take steps to improve his or her health when no negative symptoms are immediately present?
The answer is to provide a variety of opportunities for members to become educated about their health, and then to take steps to act on that knowledge. Many health plan professionals have found it beneficial to design comprehensive wellness programs that include the following steps to help members control blood pressure:
Step 1: Provide Educational Opportunities
The first step in preventing high blood pressure is to ensure that members are educated with regard to the health effects of high blood pressure.
Topics to cover include:
Defining what high blood pressure is
Outlining the long-term damage that high blood pressure can cause
Ensuring members understand how high blood pressure can be prevented or treated
It’s often beneficial to design classes or seminars that feature experts who are knowledgeable and engaging. Some plans also choose to make individualized health coaching services available to members, in order to make sure that members are receiving individualized knowledge about how to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Step 2: Make Screenings Easy and Convenient
Helping members control blood pressure also requires that members know their current blood pressure status. It’s often effective to provide opportunities for screening, either on-site or at a local clinic. Some plans may even require members to engage in regular screenings.
Another option is to provide members with basic blood pressure screening tools, such as a blood pressure cuff, that they can use at home on their own time. Many people find this to be a more approachable option, requiring less scheduling. At-home screening is also a great option for members who may have “white-coat syndrome” and thus routinely exhibit abnormally high blood pressure in a clinical setting.
Step 3: Design Incentive Plans to Keep Members Interested and Healthy
There are many ways to design an incentive plan that encourages members to meet their health goals. One benefit of using incentives is that the incentives themselves can be health-related. For example, some health care plans choose to reward members for reaching health goals by providing gym memberships, or gift cards for health-related products.
Step 4: Find Ways to Stay in Touch with Members
If you want your members to continue focusing on maintaining a healthy blood pressure in the long-run, it’s important to find a way to stay in touch. This can be as simple as periodically mailing helpful information packets, or by sending emails or texts reminding members to schedule a regular health screening.
Step 5: Sharing Results for a Sense of Accomplishment
Although you need to be careful about your members’ confidentiality, you may want to consider sharing aggregate positive health results over time as a way to boost morale. The information can go in a monthly newsletter to your members, an email blast for American Heart Month, or in any marketing/advertising campaigns you are planning.
Want more information about how MedXM can help you improve your health care plan’s member engagement? Please contact us to find out what we can do to help you connect with your members.
If you found this information useful, check out our latest infographic demonstrating 14 ways to promote American Heart Month.