CONTACT: Tara Murray
BOSTON — August 12, 2009 — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) today announced the availability of MyBlueHealthSMa suite of web, telephone, and onsite services designed to help BCBSMA members live healthier lifestyles and better manage their health. The prevention and wellness platform includes Mybluehealthma.com, which empowers individuals to improve their health by using health coaches, community support forums, and customized fitness, nutrition, and health improvement plans, among other tools.
According to a June 2009 report, Healthy People in a Healthy Economy: A Blueprint for Action in Massachusetts , released by the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) and the Boston Foundation, the most successful wellness programs provide participants with multiple opportunities to gauge their success and offer a supportive, community environment to reinforce healthy behaviors.
"MyBlueHealthSM gives people the opportunity to learn, track their progress, and get the support they need to live the healthier lives they want to live," explains Dr. John Fallon, Chief Physician Executive at BCBSMA. "Through Mybluehealthma.com's tools such as health assessments and social networking, individuals get a better sense of how they are progressing toward their health goals while also accessing a community of people with the same challenges who are committed to the same health improvements."
Fostering a Collaborative Community Environment
Mybluehealthma.com provides all participants access to community support forums to discuss similar healthy living goals and experiences in a supportive and collaborative environment. Members can start a new message topic, read ongoing discussions, and post replies at any time.
Forum categories include:
Bryce Williams, Director of Prevention & Wellness at BCBSMA, said the company has found that the forums are very helpful for members looking for a support system that will help them stay motivated without taking a lot of time out of their busy schedules.
For example, Williams explained, a mother of three looking for support to reach her weight loss goal while juggling a hectic schedule at home could post a message on the "Stronger Every Day" forum to receive exercise advice, suggestions for kid-friendly workouts, and encouragement to help her stay on track and reach her goals.
"Some members have even built a following of people that check in on their progress, offer advice and cheer them on as they work to reach their goals," Williams added.
Health Coaching and Customized Health Improvement Plans
On Mybluehealthma.com, members can access customized online wellness programs including online health coaching for nutrition, physical activity, stress management, weight management, and smoking cessation. As part of the online coaching program, members are provided with unlimited email access to a professional coach with specific expertise in the areas of exercise, nutrition, and life skills. Coaches provide valuable information and support to members, typically responding to questions within twenty-four hours.
The web site also offers customized fitness, nutrition, and health improvement plans. These plansGet Fit, Live Fit, Eat Fit, and Family Fitinclude personalized exercise and nutrition plans which help members track their goals; download healthy recipes and video exercise instructions; receive tips on stress and anxiety management; and track key health information such as weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
MyBlueHealthSM Offline Resources
In addition to its online wellness resources, BCBSMA offers telephone health coaching for major risk factors, such as nutrition, physical activity, stress management, weight management, and smoking cessation. The MyBlueHealthSM wellness platform also offers a variety of onsite screenings and seminars to help address the needs and interests of an employee population. BCBSMA also offers PDF-based health education kits to help employers create awareness around a variety of health care concerns, including stress management, oral health, sleep health, ergonomics, and more.
Consultative services available for groups with 51 or more subscribers. The MyBlueHealth website is available to BCBSMA members over the age of 18. All medical plans have access except for the following exclusions: Federal Employee Plan (FEP), Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and members with Dental Blue who are not on a BCBSMA medical plan.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( http://www.bluecrossma.com ) was founded more than 70 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.