The Iowa Chronic Care Consortium recently published a rather substantial survey on the use and effectiveness of health coaches in clinical settings. Our findings likely reflect experiences similar to those you’re having as you apply your skills and knowledge to inspire patient engagement and accountability. It also generated some deserved interest and interesting commentary.
The survey results could be pretty easily be summarized in this way:
- Those trained and actively engaged in health coaching in clinical settings reported more effectiveness, greater patient engagement and adherence to therapy, and high personal and job satisfaction.
- But, the healthcare organizations that have invested in health coaches and health coach training are still struggling to figure out how to make use of this investment, and how to incorporate health coaches more effectively into their overall care delivery processes.
Health coaches invariably find the training and enhanced skill set valuable and personally rewarding, but the enterprise isn’t quite there yet. However, the trend is unmistakeable. More and more, healthcare organizations are recognizing the practical, ‘boots on the ground’ value that health coaches deliver. For example, Dan Diamond of The Health Care Blog highlighted that Iora Health assigns a health coach to each patient. In another example, Jeff Brenner, MD of the Camden Coalition had health coaches front and center in two different case studies in his keynote presentation at the National Medical Home Summit last March. He even went so far as to say that “Corinne (the health coach) was the hero of the story.”
The point—the health coaching trend is both accelerating and encouraging. Your critical role and contribution to improving cost and quality in the care delivery process is becoming more apparent and more widely recognized. There are now very innovative health systems that are beginning to weave health coaching into the very fabric of their organizations. Still, there is a lot on the minds of providers and healthcare executives, like making the challenging transition from volume to value, so the full awareness of your importance to the organization and how to make the most of your skills will take some time.
No one said healthcare reform or population health would be easy. The transformation to patient-centered care will take time and effort. Stay front and center and keep doing the good work at the point of care, because the industry is starting to realize that having health coaches around can make the transition a little easier.