Do you want to solve setbacks in physical and mental healthcare? Let me start with this: There is no such thing “as one size fits all” in problem solving for human beings, we are complex creatures. However, many setbacks are very avoidable – we have to stop playing emergency room on weight gain, bad vital signs, anxiety, and medical issues that might be a side effect of behavioral health. In order to actually solve problems, we must avoid them all together, which means we need to start upstream.
The problem with sustaining optimal physical health results is that once the result is achieved, it is only achieved for a moment. Unless attention is given to that result on a consistent basis (and forever), it reverts back to the old (and often unhealthy) way. But what kind of person does the same things over and over again forever? Well, people who have routines – affordable routines – routines inclusive of activities that don’t derail their entire day or bank account.
This problem is the same reason guests from TV shows such as, “The Biggest Loser” leave the show and gain the weight back. Those challenges all come from a great place where people have great intentions; they are doing this in an effort to improve people’s lives, but they have done what so many others in the wellness industry also do but won’t own up to: They cut the client loose; make an effort to try to ‘set them free’, and try to ‘make them more autonomous’. They coach them less, yet expect more of them. I was one of those people before 2020, until I realized what was happening to our community: They were mourning the loss of some of their first and their most positive social influences they’ve ever had; their relationships.
That’s the problem: We motivate, educate, and separate. We lose sight of the most important factors of good behavioral health, which are relationships, love, and social influence. In general, the wellness industry provides great value by providing someone with a sense of belonging, importance, and accountability that keeps them confident. We need to KEEP our communities together and for as long as possible. If you are the consumer reading this, don’t ditch those experts you are or were seeing because you’ve ‘got it all figured out’. You’ve got it figured out for now, but life changes and keeping them at your side will get you through your future.
There are actionable methods we can implement as wellness and healthcare professionals to gain and keep clients and patients in healthy, affordable, and realistic ways. Here are some methods you can use and what we do at Health Possible to avoid the loss of client relationships in wellness (upstream work):
- Offer services that you as a business can afford to provide, at quality, that are also very affordable over both the short and long term for the customer (this does not require the customer to be in poverty to afford your services for life – “for life” is a long time to pay for something for anyone!)
- Offer discounted rates to people who truly qualify for them – you can outsource sliding scale rates immediately by registering with Health Possible. (This is how the YMCA has operated for decades).
- Partner with other providers in different fields who (1) bring additional value to your own services and (2) give your customers a wider support network to talk with.
Virtual Monthly Check-Ups
- Allow “exiting” customers to maintain monthly touch-points or consultations with you; you can do this by not requiring one hour appointments, but maybe 15 minute virtual calls and still get paid for them (remember, many Doctors appointments are only 15 minutes long even in-person. Luckily, you should have already learned plenty about this customer before they switch from 60 minute sessions to 15 minutes).
New Medicine Models
- Learn and leverage the Value Based medicine model early.
- I’m tempted to reference the Direct Primary Care model… but that’s just western medicine implementing the generic gym membership concept and naming it something else. Look wellness, medicine is following YOU! (This is a huge positive).
- Incentivize customers to stay using reward systems such as “If you complete X by such date, you get Y # of points or dollars toward future care here.” – almost like your own in-house care credit.
These are just a few methods and there are thousands. Whatever you create as a service, it must be easier and less work on the customer to engage in that service, and appealing from a value versus cost perspective.
Stronger bonded communities have always led to better outcomes, people need each other. By keeping people in their positive social groups, we can avoid many setbacks, highs and lows, all together and assist in their establishment of balance through longevity.