Coach Perspective: 5 Advantages of Building Relationships Digitally

Andrea Newcom is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Health Coach for Omada. We sat down with her recently to talk about the ways in which the Digital Health forum at Omada enables her to establish relationships, a truly human connection and ultimately healthier clients. Here's what she had to say. 

When it comes to my success as a health coach, relationships are everything. That will never change. How I form those bonds, though, has evolved in unexpected ways. 

Before joining Omada, I worked face-to-face with my clients for years—and quickly learned that the digital format has its own advantages to relationship building. 

Omada is uniquely positioned to help me create meaningful connections with my participants. Here’s how. 

1. I'm empowered to be proactive

With Omada, I have the time and tools I need to reach out to my participants. I don’t have to wait for patients to come to me like I would in an office, or stand by waiting for an automated alert like I would at other digital health companies. If a participant hasn’t checked in for a while, I’m going to check in on their progress. Our technology empowers me with both the fluidity of time and the necessary tools to do that regularly. 

Why it matters: Being proactive keeps my participants healthy—if I were waiting for a dangerous reading, it would already be too late.

2. I get to know my participants personally 

As a digital health coach, I get a raw glimpse into my participants’ lives. I’m integrated in their homes—we’re interacting from the comfort of their couch instead of a sterile doctor’s office. I like that I’m not focused exclusively on their conditions: I get to know them, as a human being as well. I learn about their families and kids, and enjoy meaningful  interactions that aren’t always about diabetes or hypertension. 

Why it matters: Seeing how my participants live day-to-day allows me to effectively guide and treat them holistically. Participants are people, not conditions. 

3: Omada offers a judgement-free zone 

Our virtual setting removes face-to-face pressure and leads to openness and honesty. There are pieces of the digital relationship that feel safer with Omada, because participants have the time and space both to get to know and trust me, as well as the ongoing support needed to digest the multi-layered  information needed to treat their unique set of conditions. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for my participants to really know they can trust me. When that trust is finally established however, I see a new level of honesty and participants taking ownership of their health—something that is near impossible to achieve with sporadic 15 minute in-person consultations

Why it matters: Creating a trusting environment leads people to be open, honest, and accountable for their actions. 

4: Increased communication builds rapport

Omada provides access to education, care, and everything you want to do in a doctor’s office but can’t. I’m there to answer questions between visits or anytime a participant needs me, which is huge—especially for people with diabetes. Participants can message me anytime. So much comes up that you can’t cover in person, but you can digitally because there is time to address whole person care. I get to treat their ups and downs of emotional eating, for example. 

Why it matters: Having access to ongoing care from a trusted relationship enables people to overcome challenges and continue progressing toward their health goals. 

5: The flexibility enables tailored care

I’m not here to fundamentally change the way a participant lives—I’m here to help them create sustainable lifestyle patterns to improve their overall health. I fit into their life. Omada’s focus on personalized care means treatment orbits completely around the participant—the health goals they want to achieve, the barriers they want to scale, and the healthy patterns they want to establish.Because Omada is a voluntary program, participants never have anything forced on them. For instance, if my participant wants to address stress in week one, but we won’t get there until week 9 in the lessons, I’ll adjust accordingly; we also avoid prescribing specific meal plans because Omada focuses on empowering participants to live sustainably. Our digital technology enables this high level of personalization. 

Why it matters: Personalization allows us to provide guidance that helps participants live sustainably. 

Throughout my coaching career, I’ve witnessed how building strong relationships with my participants leads to more meaningful and sustainable behavior change. You simply need that personal connection. Omada empowers just that—Coaches to harness the power of human relationships, digitally.