Reaching Clients Wherever They Are

Virtuagym

Kodiak Healthcare delivers health and social services to the Kodiak Island Borough, which includes six remote villages. Because the villages are remote, it’s not always easy for Kodiak Healthcare to have direct access to its clients. But thanks to Virtuagym, the organization is able to easily serve its clients, even when direct access isn’t possible.

Here, Siene Allen, the wellness program administrator for Kodiak Healthcare, discusses the many benefits Virtuagym has brought to their organization. 

CS: How were you introduced to Virtuagym, and why did you decide to partner with them?  

SA: I discovered their platform in the winter of 2014 when researching customer management systems online for implementation in our new-and-improved wellness facility then under construction and opened in April 2015.

Until that time, we had been managing our members with a paper and pen sign-in sheet and we needed something that better met our needs. You have to understand, our wellness center is not a traditional health club. We are part of the Kodiak Area Native Organization (kodiakhealthcare.org), delivering health and social services to the Kodiak Island Borough, which includes six remote villages. Our program directly provides fitness, nutrition and massage therapy services to beneficiaries and Veterans at no cost. We needed a system that could increase our services to clients without increasing employee costs; as well as a system that was innovative, relevant and that leveraged technology to connect with its users in many ways and in many locations.

To be honest, Virtuagym sounded too good to be true when I first found their website, and I had a lot of pushback from my staff about whether it was going to work. However, after lots of phone conversations to get key questions answered, multiple demos of the system, and their growing partnerships with LifeFitness and FitBit, it seemed like a smart move to partner with them for our facility and I got approval to move forward.

CS: What are the benefits to your business as a result of this partnership? 

SA: We receive the majority of our operational budget for the KANA Wellness Center from the Indian Health Service (IHS) Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) to provide services for Alaska Native (AI) and Native American (AN) persons at risk or diagnosed with diabetes.

During the delivery of these prevention services, we collect tremendous amounts of data that has to be analyzed and reported on to secure continued program funding. Virtuagym’s system allows us to collect participation data, behavioral data and measurable outcome data in an easy-to-use format for reporting to our Board of Directors and Federal grantors.

The ongoing improvements made to the reporting tools in the system has only improved our ability to collect and use this data, but was also a key factor in our decision to partner with them.

CS: What are the benefits to your members as a result of this partnership? 

SA: Kodiak is a place where people spend a lot of time being active outside when the weather is good and we wanted to have a way to encourage and connect with our members wherever they might be. Others live in village communities and cannot attend the programs at the KANA Wellness Center because it’s a plane ride away. We wanted to have the ability to provide anyone with a physical activity and nutrition program and provide ongoing coaching no matter where they were to help them meet their goals and this system allows us to do that.

It’s been especially helpful when working with clients on their nutritional goals; as they can easily enter their meals and we can easily review and suggest ways to improve their intake while teaching them to pay attention to what they are eating in terms of macronutrients, as well as calorie content of foods.

Meeting minimum weekly exercise recommendations for adults (150 min/week) or youth (300 min/week) is also easy to track with the integration of LFConnect and FitBit accounts with the platform, so that any exercise they are already getting credited for there is automatically entered into their exercise totals as it accrues.

We have several clients who were not seeing results that were encouraged to use the apps and engage in online coaching who have made significant progress as a result. It really does work.

CS: Have you been pleasantly surprised by working with Virtuagym in any way? 

SA: Their customer service has been great. They are responsive to questions submitted through the community pages, as well as email. I have also been impressed with their direct contact with myself to solicit feedback regarding how the system is or is not working for us and how they can make it better. Every quarter they make improvements and upgrades to the program that demonstrates they are paying attention to the requests and needs of their customers.

Even those employees who were reluctant about the system in the beginning are now using it themselves and are seeing benefits themselves because of it.

CS: What else can you tell other club owners about the benefits of working with Virtuagym?

SA: We really appreciate their willingness to help our non-traditional program succeed and their continued responsiveness to customer feedback.

 

For more information on Virtuagym and how it can benefit your business, visit virtuagym.com

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