Kaia Health SMART Coaching Model Drives Digital MSK User Experience, Engagement, and Outcomes

Highly individualized coaching experience and exercise goals maximize therapeutic effectiveness while reducing MSK medical spend.

4 min read
Illustration of three smartphones receiving video calls.

Making a difference for your MSK population

As digital health adoption skyrockets in the face of the fluctuating COVID-19 pandemic, employers, benefits managers, and third party administrators are looking ahead toward the next plan year and the health benefits that can make the most difference for their populations.

One of the most effective ways to keep a workforce healthy, engaged, and productive is through positive user experiences with health benefits. With musculoskeletal (MSK) pain being among the most common and costly challenges today, Kaia Health delivers a digital MSK app that drives high levels of user engagement and improved outcomes, enabling employees to take ownership of their health. Employers, meanwhile, add value and realize strong ROI and cost savings by incorporating customized, personalized coaching to address their populations’ MSK challenges.

Kaia Health app improves health, decreases costs, returns 1.6(x) ROI

Engaging, effective health benefits mean bottom-line results

The Kaia Health Pain Management program is Revolutionizing Chronic Pain Therapy Through Digital Coaching, offering value and reassurance to benefits managers concerned about costs from delayed, inadequate or unnecessary care stemming from MSK conditions.

It starts with Kaia Health’s unique hybrid coaching approach that blends automated technology with human coaching to maximize therapeutic effectiveness, the user experience, and engagement while reducing medical spend. Driving Kaia Health’s digital MSK success is its approach to coaching—the primary means of patients interacting with the MSK app. Successful engagement (rates of) comes from the quality of our trained staff in intrinsically motivating users through our coaching process, and an underlying philosophy that deeply influences Kaia Health’s overall success.

What makes the Kaia Health Pain Management program so successful?

So, what’s at the core of our coaching philosophy and user success? The belief that each of our users is creative, resourceful, and resilient. Instead of telling users what to do, Kaia Health coaches guide users’ judgement or bias, letting them find their North Star of motivation.

Kaia Health’s coaching goals were developed based on goals originally applied to management and expanded to include health and exercise: Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Relevant and Time-bound. Our coaches leverage these SMART goals to create behavior changes that will add value to their lives and carry them along their path.

Illustration of SMART goals and definitions.

This powerful yet simple set of goals directly impacts Kaia Health MSK app user performance through four mechanisms2:

  1. Directing users’ effort and attention toward specific, focused goals for better results
  2. Motivating users to challenge themselves
  3. Fostering persistence by encouraging users to determine how best to spend their time
  4. Driving engagement through learning and knowledge

Goal-Setting drives success

Unlike other MSK solutions, Kaia coaches serve as the single point of contact for users to facilitate the entire Kaia experience. Our coaches provide guidance through in-app optimization, matching users’ motivation and ability levels for proper goal setting and building self-confidence. Kaia Health coaches also provide resources on health and exercise in the form of articles, experts or employer-benefits-related care management teams. Above all, Kaia Health coaches provide guidance in goal-setting and tracking progress throughout the user journey.

In our most recent quarter, for example, more than 54% of users who set a Kaia-based SMART goal with a coach met their weekly frequency goal at least once.1  Examples of real-life, Kaia-related SMART goals developed in coordination with coaches include:

“I will incorporate my Kaia routine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings” 

“I will use Kaia 6 days per week”

“I will rise at 6 am twice a week to make time to do Kaia”

Most users come to Kaia Coaches knowing what they want to get out of using the app, but they are unsure of how to get from point A to point B. That’s why S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great tool. They provide a framework of behaviors needed in order to achieve a desired vision.

Sara Espina, Kaia Health Senior Health Coach Sara Espina, MS, CN, CIC®

Kaia Health’s intrinsically trained and Nationally Board Certified (NBC-HWC) coaches augment Kaia’s in-app comprehensive MSK education, customized daily training sessions, and relaxation series by facilitating a growth-promoting relationship with their users. They deliver on such outcomes as increased self-awareness and autonomy, a sense of responsibility, and self-discovery. This partnership enables Kaia users to define the gap between where they are and where they would like to go. Kaia users then leverage this awareness to create unique SMART goals to move them forward.

Gold-standard MSK digital therapeutic

As employers and TPAs strive to make benefits simpler and more supportive for employees in the year to come, it’s important to understand the MSK tools available that can meet the needs of each individual. If you’re thinking about your population’s chronic MSK pain issues, rising MSK costs, or weaknesses in your offering, Kaia Health is here to help with our evidence-based, integrated, and scalable DTx solution that is goal oriented, employee centered, and can be rapidly implemented.

Schedule a demo

To learn more about how we can help your organization minimize the impact of chronic musculoskeletal pain on physical and mental health and ensure the safety, success, and well-being of employees, schedule a brief intro call or demo with our team.

1. Kaia Health internal data, Q3 2020, available from Kaia Health.
2. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation. A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717.

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