When you have a diagnosed chronic GI condition, it usually means a lot of medical care. There can be ongoing visits to the doctor or specialist, medications to refill and monitor… and on top of that, the doctor will likely make recommendations for diet and lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms.
However, it can be a little overwhelming for many people. Sure, we might be able to keep up on our appointments, but have you ever been to the doctor and realized as you were driving home that you forgot to ask an important question? Or has a doctor handed you a diet plan that just seemed too radical or hard to follow, so you didn’t stick with it?
These are common issues for those struggling to improve their gut health. And it’s one of the reasons a digital healthcare solution can help fill in the “care gaps” that occur when we are outside the doctor’s office.
Digital healthcare can offer a more individualized, personal approach to help you make everyday, real-life actions that can improve your chances of successfully managing symptoms and feeling better.
Personalized care helps guide you towards goals/actions that fit in your life and are going to be most effective at helping to relieve your symptoms. After all, there is no “one size fits all” plan that will work for an individual’s health.
The GIThrive® program does more than just offer handy educational resources for people with GI symptoms and disease: it offers true connection and personal support. We find that actively guiding our members along their way toward feeling better and having fewer painful symptoms can really produce results. That’s why Vivante has an entire Care Team of registered dietitians and health coaches. We’re dedicated to offering one-on-one advice and support with everything from nutrition and meal tips to helping our members prepare for doctor appointments to make sure they get the most out of those visits.
Wondering how it works? Here’s an inside look at our Care Team’s approach to personalized care. Below, we share some of the most common frequently asked questions (FAQs) when someone signs up for our program.
Q: Why is personalized care more effective than, say, a self-guided resource library?
A: Digestive health is different for every single person. For example, the way one person experiences IBS is different from another person. Anyone can search “Dr. Google” to find articles and websites to get a general sense of what might help ease symptoms. However, when someone talks one-on-one with an expert about what they’re actually experiencing, the foods they eat or avoid, and other factors about their lives, the expert can create a clearer plan about what might work best for that person.
That’s why our Care Team takes time to get to know our members and their unique stories. On a personal level, we provide guidance towards goals/actions that fit our members’ lives and are going to be most effective at helping to relieve their symptoms. There’s no “one size fits all” plan that will work for an individual’s health, so we connect with our members to tailor personalized plans that meet them where they are today.
Q: What does GIThrive offer employees once they sign up?
A: When your employees register in the GIThrive program, they get access to our Care Team. We’ve got both registered dietitians and health coaches on staff. Dietitians help with food-related questions and can offer advice for meal planning, foods to avoid (or eat more of!), and more. Our health coaches (sometimes called Health Sherpas) are here to provide lifestyle and coaching support and can chat online. We can also schedule 30 minute phone or video sessions. Everything is member-guided, meaning members are not required to talk to the Care Team, but they always have the option to talk with us as often as needed. We support members in reaching any of their goals, whether those goals are related to changing their lifestyle or improving their gut health.
Beyond our personalized Care Team benefit, GIThrive also includes education courses, articles, symptom and nutrition logs and depending on level of service, access to the GutCheck gut microbiome home testing kit.
Q: What kind of personalized support is available through the Care Team?
A: We offer a wide range of support—all of it personalized to the member. This can include (but is not limited to):
- Help identifying trigger foods
- Weight management
- Help with becoming more active
- Reducing symptoms
- Reducing stress/anxiety
- Finding work-life balance
- Locating a specialist or care provider
- Questions about medications
- Learning more about their condition.
Q: How is GIThrive’s Care Team personalized support different from medical advice a person might get from their physician/specialist?
A: A doctor diagnoses a condition and offers treatment plans. However, when it comes to making lifestyle changes, eating a proper diet, and taking a more holistic approach to symptom management, a medical doctor’s influence is rather limited. That’s because they only get so much time with a patient and they cannot always provide the ongoing, ground-level support to help patients make progress. The GIThrive Care Team are behavior change specialists, helping members translate their doctor’s advice into realistic actions.
The GIThrive program doesn’t replace doctor’s orders; rather, it bridges gaps in care so it’s easier to follow a doctor’s advice. The program can also help members communicate with their providers by suggesting questions to ask and helping prepare for clinical conversations.
Q: How does the Care Team learn which concerns employees need help with?
A: When registering with GIThrive, employees create a member profile. We ask basic questions to give us some background, but it’s completely up to the member what they choose to share. (All of this is kept confidential according to HIPAA regulations, of course.) Once a basic profile is created, it directs the member to specific course and article recommendations. We can also start to identify foods that may potentially be triggers for any symptoms they’re experiencing. Again, this is all guided by the member themselves and the pace that works for them. No pressure!
Q: Because it’s personalized support, will members always talk to the same member of the Care Team?
A: For the most part, yes. For after-hours or urgent (non-911 emergency) situations, we do have an on-call team of registered nurses ready to step in and help. But during regular hours, members have access to health coaches and dietitians at all times and can chat with and schedule appointments with both. Each member has a dedicated team that includes a dietitian and a health coach. They will maintain the same dietitian and coach, which allows their Care Team to really get to know them and provide them with continuous support along their journey. They will not have to speak to someone new each time, forcing them to go over the same thing time after time. This allows each conversation to be a unique step in their journey.
Q: How often do employees need to talk to the GIThrive Care Team?
A: As often as they’d like! It really depends on the member and what they want to get out of the program. Some like to meet every week, while others choose to meet once a month. And some choose to communicate via chat, while some prefer to reach out when they are having symptoms/need immediate support. It’s all up to members and the amount of support they want/need. We even offer daily check-ins, if that’s what works best for the member. This option is great for those who want to get better at self-monitoring or need help with accountability and sticking to plans.
If this list spurs any other questions or you’d like more details on what we offer, don’t be shy: use the buttons below to get in touch with us to learn more. We’re here to help.
Special thanks to the Vivante Health Care Team for contributing to this post!