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Health coach in doctor offices

How to provide for your patients who want more of healthy changes?

    There is a constant battle providing a patient with the proper guidance and medical care versus getting
    paid by insurance for what is reasonable and customary.
    Face to face time spent with a patient has been shortened drastically for financial reasons. So where
    does the patient need to go to get the proper guidance?

Facts:
    Up to 80% of our nation’s health costs are related to chronic conditions that have their origin in poor lifestyle behaviors
    $1.8 trillion of the $2.4 trillion spent on healthcare in 2009 can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors
    Our current healthcare system is designed to treat sicknesses and not promoting lifestyle changes
    Making positive changes towards healthy lifestyle can only happen when individuals are held accountable

Why health coach?
Primary objectives in health coaching are to educate the patient regarding self management and to encourage in taking a more proactive role in staying healthy. It is a relatively new concept for medical practices and still there are a lot of doctors who are not aware of it.

In medical practices, a health coach might act as an intermediary between a patient and physician providing more relevant information and helping to motivate the patient in following the protocols like weight loss or sugar free diet. A health coach might guide the patient to make more informed and conscious choices regarding their lifestyle to improve their health conditions.

Primary objective is to educate the patient regarding self health management and encourage him in taking more proactive role in staying healthy.

While medical provider will focus on chief complains, taking medical history and prescribing medications, the role of a health coach will be to gather more information about lifestyle issues such as stress, nutrition, living conditions, amount of exercise in daily life, and other factors contributing to patient’s health. As the patient and health coach conversations are done in more relax environment, the health coach might be able to gather more information especially those applying to the social context underlying the physical issue. The patient will discuss everything in his life that could contribute to his current physical illness.

Summing up the role of a heath coach in medical setting:

    Providing more time for discussing patients current situation

    Strengthening patients satisfaction
    Motivating patients to change behaviors and self manage their health
    Making patients accountable for reaching their goals
    Providing various custom designed protocols to help with physical illness
    Helping in a doctor-patient communication

Frequently asked questions

Will a health coach cost more than benefits for the practice?

It all depends on the model of the practice that is pursued and on the arrangement that the practice has
with its coaches. Health coach services cannot be billed to the medical insurance but medical practice
might gain patients satisfaction by providing health coaching services for those patients who are willing
to pay out of their own pocket. Sometimes providing the group workshops might be a better option
oppose to providing more expensive private sessions.

Can a health coach decrease the number of patients coming to the medical practice?

It would be very unlikely as a health coach is an add on value. There might be rather an increase in
return visits as patients will feel they are provided with something different and beneficial to them.

Can a doctor lose patient respect by having a health coach?

A health coach does not substitute the medical provider and there is a different scope of practice.
Health coaching can boost patients respect and the perception of medical practice.

Is health coach associated only with a big medical clinic?

It depends on the practice model. If there is a small practice providing wellness services, a health coach
is perfectly suited for this practice.

Conclusion

If the model for the clinic is providing sick and health care a health coach would be an awesome addition
to provide extra support and accountability in following up protocols for self management.

Health Coaching plays a vital role in a new updated medical system by:

    Providing self-management support
    Bridging the gap between clinician and patient
    Helping patient navigate healthcare system
    Offering emotional support.