Health Coaching

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Why does your ACO, Hospital, Physician Group, or Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) need Health Coaching?

Evidence based health coaching is the most popular tool (78.7%) for Population Health Management (PHM) – due to health coaching’s low cost and high efficacy.

A lot of organizations are asking themselves the question, “how can we make this needed shift from educating to activating patients?

We need to rely on the science of behavioral change, because chronic disease is the result of learned behaviors; and are exacerbated by our habits. Because of this, the trained Health Coach can improve the ability of a physician to perform at the highest level. That is how a health coach fits into a healthcare team. You need to use trained health coaches to make this shift, moving patients from dependency, to self-care and accountability.

Americare’s health coach’s skills can improve your patient outcomes by improving behaviors that affect the patients health, such as, better self care. With the rise in chronic illness, there is a great need for patient-centered care that addresses lifestyle factors, increases patient education, and supports self-management of healthy habit change.

With input from the physician, the Americare’s behavioral health coach can help with medication management, stress management, exercise and nutrition, and community resources. (S)he will also field questions and concerns from participants and offer suggestions and advice that applies directly to their particular situations at home. Our coaches will also spend time helping each patient to create behavior-change action plans and set personalized goals that they aim to accomplish by the next session. Patients’ family members can also be included so that everyone is better informed and committed to healthy change.

Health coaching, also referred to as wellness coaching, is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behavior change by challenging a client to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their values, and transform their goals into action. Health coaching draws on the principles of positive psychology and the practices of motivational interviewing and goal setting.

Once a coach has established rapport, building strong communication strategies is essential. An effective tool used in health and wellness coaching and other clinical work is motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is a process used in psychotherapy, social work, medicine, addiction and other fields. The basis for support for this method is that motivational interviewing gives shape to the inner-knowledge gained, which then encourages behavior change. Research shows knowledge alone does not promote change, but when an understanding of motive is added to the knowledge base, change is likely to occur.[5][6][7]

Motivational Interviewing focuses on the present. The emphasis is on the client’s internal motivating factors and their core values and goals. This allows the client to express their desire to change their lifestyle and identify it with themselves rather than having it come from the health coach.

The clinical health coach generates a patient-centered plan of care built upon patient goals that fortifies the organization’s care management/care coordination strategies. Clinical heath coaches are behavior change specialist specifically trained to satisfy recommended preventive care measures and chronic conditions.

The clinical health coach respects the individual as decision-maker and owner of the strategies they will use to maintain a favorable health status or address health deficits. The clinical heath coach uses evidence-based practices to assess the individual’s readiness to change and even considers how the individual’s communication style affects what they are hearing and understanding.

Most importantly, the health coach partners with the individual making their own determinations about goals and activities they will undertake after leaving the office or clinic.

Teaching can reach some individuals, but the successful clinical health coach will activate many more individuals. The clinical health coach aligns activated patients with your organization’s best practice guidelines and partners with them to fulfill active care plans

In a new era of health care, the challenge is to create and foster patient centered care coordination and management that goes beyond education alone. Americare’s coaching program may be tailored to your organization’s individual needs.

How can we make this needed shift from educating to activating patients?

Does Health Coaching Work?

Several studies have shown health coaching to be effective in improving various aspects of health. One study on type 2 diabetes concludes that after 6 months, individuals who were coached showed improvement in medication adherence and coached participants with a hemoglobin A1C over 7% showed significant improvement in A1C.[15]

A study on coronary heart disease indicated that patients in a coaching program achieved a significantly greater change in total cholesterol of 14 mg/dl than the non-coached patients, with a considerable reduction in LDL-C.[16]

Another study shows that coaching is an effective program for assisting individuals with weight loss. The average BMI significantly decreased during this interactive coaching study. Average Baseline was 32.1%, and then documented at 3 months (31.4%), 6 months (31.0%), and 12 months (30.6%).[17]

A study on tobacco cessation concluded that after 12 months, the coached participants had a 32% quit rate compared to 18% for nonparticipants. Additionally, 11% of participants who did not quit reported reduction in tobacco use. [18]

Evidence supports that health coaching improve mental health, cancer pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight loss, smoking cessation, and medication adherence.

7 Patient-Centered Strategies to Generate Value-Based Reimbursement

  1. PHM
  2. Care Coordination
  3. Integrated Care Delivery
  4. eHealth & Telehealth
  5. Access to Care
  6. Health & Wellness (Health Coaching)
  7. Dual Eligibles

With time and resources at a premium, healthcare organizations are increasingly selective about allocation of human and financial capital. There are, however, a select group of initiatives and strategies worthy of C-suite (CEO, CFO, etc.) investment. Population health management, care coordination and integrated care delivery are among the top patient-centered healthcare strategies in 2014, according to a new infographic from the Healthcare Intelligence Network. This HINfographic also identifies the other top strategies, as well as metrics from existing programs.

Americare uses and promotes all seven of these strategies in order to generate better outcomes, reduce the cost of healthcare, and improve your bottom line. Many of these strategies involve health coaching.

Population Health Management

Reducing or eliminating fragmentation of care is a major point of satisfaction among all health care providers

They have found that:

  • 30–50% of patients leave their provider visits without understanding their treatment plan
  • Hospitalized patients retain only 10% of their discharge teaching instructions; and
  • Chronically ill patients receive only 56% of clinically recommended health care

See the 2012 HIN Population Health Management Survey below.

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