Temple Times Online Edition
    OCTOBER 28, 2004
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Manage chronic conditions with help

One in four adults suffers from at least one chronic health condition. High blood pressure, diabetes and asthma often don’t make you feel bad. Many people don’t know they have them, or don’t take their medications or make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage them.

If not treated or effectively managed, they all can lead to degenerative health conditions and higher medical costs.

A strong support system makes it easier to manage chronic conditions, but often it’s not available. A new resource that was recently introduced by Independence Blue Cross can fill in the gap. Connections Health Management is a set of online tools and telephone support to help you learn more and make wise decisions.

With one phone call, Temple students, staff and faculty can get support from a health coach at Connections Health Management from Independence Blue Cross. Health coaches are qualified healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses, respiratory therapists and dietitians. They are ready to answer questions and give support to help Temple community members make important decisions about getting treatment and managing their healthcare conditions.

Health Coach is one of several resources in the Dialogue Center of Connections Health Management that can help people manage their health and activities. Other resources include:

• Healthwise Knowledgebase: a reliable, up-to-date online encyclopedia of medical information.
• Support for significant healthcare decisions through Health Crossroads, which provides modules of unbiased information to help people have meaningful discussions with their doctors and make decisions.
• Healthy Tools, including a health assessment, symptoms diary and medication list.
• Health and Wellness Re-sources: For fitness, smoking cessation and weight management.

All contact with Connections Health Management is confidential — from conversations with a health coach to the health assessment and other personal information diaries. No information is shared with the University.

Working hand-in-hand with a health coach can save you money.

Your call to a health coach, and all of the information in Connections Health Management, are available to you at no cost.

Since your health coach understands the medical care system, you’ll avoid unnecessary detours to providers that may be costly, but not be helpful.

You’ll have someone in your corner when you have questions or need support. You won’t need to wait for a doctor to return your call at their convenience. Health coaches are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

A health coach can help you understand and follow your doctor’s instructions, support you in your lifestyle changes and point you to resources that will increase your knowledge about your medical condition.

Following your doctor’s instructions, taking your medications regularly and changing your lifestyle can improve your health and lower your healthcare costs.

Whether you have a chronic condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, are facing a serious healthcare decision or just have medical-related questions, contact a health coach or register for Connections Health Management online today. These resources are available to members of Personal Choice or Keystone. Check with the Benefits Department at 204-1321 with any questions.

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year (even holidays), health coaches can be reached by phone at 1-800-ASK-BLUE or online at www.ibx.com (click on Wellness, then on Connections Health Management). There is no cost to the caller for their services.

By Irene Monley