How health plans can help combat loneliness in members

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An older man holds his face as he thinks while sitting on a sofa.Loneliness is one of the most common issues, and it can bring major physical and behavioral health consequences in its most severe forms. Lonely people are more likely to experience health problems like heart disease, strokes, and depression. When patients are lonely, it’s a struggle to fully engage in their lives or health care — leading to poor outcomes. Learn three ways health plans can help combat loneliness:

How plans help members combat loneliness

People are typically social by nature but when barriers exist to fulfilling those needs a pattern of withdrawal sets in which negatively impacts access to healthcare.. Solving loneliness is the key to addressing additional needs for your members, and it’s as simple as taking a few steps:

Identification

The first step in combating loneliness is to identify it. Loneliness is significantly less obvious than major medical conditions such as heart disease or cancer, so it is still a mystery to many health plans. Plans can identify signs and get ahead of risk by taking a few steps.

Start by asking key questions about members:

  • Do they live alone?
  • Have they recently lost a loved one?
  • Is it hard for them to make connections due to a lack of transportation or mobility limitations?
  • Has their primary care provider (PCP) expressed concern?
  • Do they use terms like lonely, alone or isolated?

If any of the above is true, a member is more likely to be experiencing loneliness, so further intervention could support the trajectory of their health outcomes.

Connection

One of the best ways to combat and eliminate loneliness is to find belonging. This can be a challenge for older members who can’t get around easily. Luckily, plans can implement programs and strategies to connect members — both with each other and with people in their communities — such as:

  • Providing guided ongoing, reliable companionship.
  • Offering virtual social clubs to combat the effects of isolation.
  • Implementing empathetic and supportive technology.

Methods to meet SDOH needs

Connections amount to more than socialization. Your members also have wide-ranging social determinants of health (SDOH) needs that impact their well-being. Go the extra mile by connecting members with a variety of resources, such as assisting food insecure members with food banks and meal delivery programs or helping members by promoting exercise through gyms, recreation centers and classes.

Health engagement

With all the guidance and resources you have to share with members, you need to know that there are limits, and that’s okay. In fact, you should remind your members that they have the power to affect their own health outcomes. Start by encouraging them to engage in their own health

Help participants adhere to care plans 

Knowing how, when and where to act on their health can be difficult for members. Stay on their side with helpful resources such as appointment and medication refill reminders, plus referrals to behavioral health services.

Tackle engagement issues by downloading Member Engagement Conundrum: 5 Issues  in Medicare and Medicaid Plans and How to Solve Them.

How Pyx Health helps members 

Pyx Health is combating loneliness for members. Our platform is at the intersection of human compassion and technology, working to reduce costs and readmissions and improve lives.

Using technology

Technology is doing more than ever in the health space, and not just for medical personnel. Patients and health plan members have their own tools. The Pyx Health platform brings the best of traditional care and technology together with compassionate humans and an interactive mobile platform. Thanks to Pyx Health, members can quickly access a variety of resources, including interactive activities and evidence-based screenings.

Predictive member-based technology software 

Timing matters. With predictive technology, plans can flag high-risk individuals and deliver necessary resources to members exactly when they need them.

Empathetic chatbot

Always feel heard. The Pyxir chatbot is an ear to listen to and a shoulder to cry on when others aren’t available, offering companionship, support and encouragement.

Thrive Pathway

It’s okay to need extra support. Thrive Pathway is our intensive, eight-week program tailored to individuals. The program goes above and beyond with evidence-based screenings to capture health changes. It also incorporates scheduled check-ins by a live, dedicated representative called  ‘ANDY’ (Authentic, Nurturing, Dependable, Your friend) and provides activities to promote self-care.

Person-to-person support

We know that many medical services turn out to be unnecessary. Pyx Health’s compassionate support center alleviates unneeded care. In fact, 75% of users reported that person-to-person support helped them avoid major services, such as ED visits and calling 911 or crisis lines.

Access to health resources

Health care extends beyond medical facilities, especially for the most vulnerable members. Pyx Health coordinates with providers to deliver medical equipment and in-home care services.

Increase engagement to combat loneliness

Loneliness is more than a passing feeling. It can have lasting physical and mental impacts. Leverage your knowledge and resources to help your members combat loneliness and engage in their well-being. By taking steps to address loneliness, Pyx Health is helping plans improve their members' outcomes, contain costs, and more. 

Explore next steps on how Pyx Health can help you increase member engagement.

a female doctors talks to a patient on an office phone