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Health Coaches in Medical Practice

adapted and republished from 05/31/15 

I love my job!  I love you guys too.  It is so nice to be working in an industry with such potential to change lives in such a huge way.

A couple of years ago, health coaches were struggling to justify their existence.

Things have changed.

The wellness industry needs health coaches.  I happen to know a lot of health coaches who are ready and willing to work.

Health Coaches are growing their businesses as well as doctors, registered dietitians, and all in the wellness industry.

Health Coaches not only provide proactive lifestyle support; they also can help to keep patients on track with doctor’s instructions.

Everyone in the wellness industry is working together now in ways that are beneficial to all.

We began finding jobs for health coaches and gradually evolved to teaching coaches how to do business and find customers on their own.

The church I go to still has doughnut Sundays.  Our assistant pastor got up in his sermon last week with a can of beer, a canister of whipped cream and a can of coca-cola, and empty water bottle …………and you aren’t going to believe this…….a jar of green smoothie!  He poured the whipped cream, cola and whipped cream into the bottle and compared filling your body with bad stuff…was just like filling your soul with bad things.  He pulled out the green smoothie and said…it doesn’t taste great…but after 1 1/2 months, he craved it.  It made him feel good.  That is the same thing that happens when you feed your soul with good things.

I used to take my green juice to church meetings while everyone else drank colas and ate Cheetos, I drank my green juice and they all laughed at me.  Things have changed, and if my church can move forward, we all can.

Health coaches in private practice

with doctors or dietitians

Maybe you’ve been considering it, or maybe this will introduce you to the idea of employing and/or partnering with health coaches in your business. 

A health coach:

  • will be your patients’ advocate.
  • goal set
  • follow up
  • instruct and assist in making lifestyle choices that increase quality of life for your patient
  • Small behavioral changes

We have over 600 health coaches and access to 1000’s more who want to work.

Health coaches in private practice

Options

A Health Coach Can Work in Your Office as an Employee

There are benefits to using an in office health coach:

  1. You retain control
  2. Ease of communication
  3. Additional options to utilize an extra set of hands or eyes
  4. Ability to combine appointments
  5. Document sharing is easier
  6. Ease of insurance administration
  7. Ability to offer internships to health coaches

Off-Site as a Contractor

There are also benefits to using a health coach off site:

  1. No space requirements
  2. Independent contractor (no taxes)
  3. Less administration
  4. More diverse time offerings to patients
  5. Many patients are more open and honest on calls
  6. May use health coach’s programs (no investment)

Our health coaches know scope of practice boundaries and understand the conditions and rules associated with working as a health coach with physician’s patients.  

Our certified health coaches have studied and passed a test assuring us that they understand and can apply the following concepts in situations that require critical thinking and discernment.

“Health Coaches can provide the instruction, the tools, the information, the facilitation of behavior change and of information exchange that leads to the creation of health instead of the suppression of symptoms or disease.”

Dr. Mark Hyman

Benefits for everyone

Practitioner – Health Coach – Patient

 Studies show that doctors with health coaches have added additional income to their practices as well as added value to their patients.

Having a health coach partnership:

  • Cuts your workload by relieving you of time consuming work
  • Adds to income
  • Develops a bridge between you and your patient making sure they understand and follow instructions
  • Will gain access to day to day progress of the patient (see diet, exercise, habits, etc.)
  • Adds to your reputation and provides a competitive advantage by providing additional services that fill the needs of the client
  • Provides additional flow of revenue

Your practice will have healthier patients overall and you will have more time…all at no risk to you!

Benefits to Your Patients

Your patients who use your health coach will:

  • Set and accomplish goals in a way that is empowering and exciting
  • Have more time spent on their issues
  • Have a checks and balances understanding of “doctor’s orders” – less chance for patient error
  • Happier patients
  • Increase trust
  • Better health outcome

What it looks like

Who to refer

Your patients who use your health coach may include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Behavioral health issues
  • Chronic pulmonary disease
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Or many other chronic disease

How it Works

Do it Yourself, We’ll Set You Up

There are several ways to work with a health coach. It will depend on your needs and financial considerations.

  • In the office as an employee.
  • Off site as a subcontractor.
  • Independently with their online wellness and weight loss programs.
  • Independently with physician online wellness and weight loss programs.
  • Or
  • With us

.

    Number of Coaches

    Number of Patients

    This is all relative to your practice and the coach’s duties.  The numbers here are general.

    Number of Patients per Health Coach:

    70-100 patients each, with one on one meeting

    0 – 2000 patients each, in online group coaching

    If you have patients with more complex problems, the numbers may be lower.

    Breaking your patients into groups by disease works for most programs, there are others that don’t require that.

      It can be easy

      Help Your Patients to Help Themselves

      Many patients leave their visit not understanding the instructions or even the diagnosis of their physician.  They don’t know what to do and either don’t do anything or do the wrong thing.

      Health coaches help the patients by supporting the doctor’s orders and helping the patient to develop an action plan. Health coaching programs with a set itinerary, are set up to let the patient participate in their own care and build on their successes in lifestyle change.

      Medical care practices benefit by adding a health coaching program.

      We help by providing access to trained health coaches ready to participate and facilitate your programs.  They are ready to immediately implement wellness program and track your patients progress then report back to you.

      When the patient is referred, they are greeted by the coach with an on-boarding appointment.  At this appointment the coach will go over the health history and the doctor’s notes with the patient.

      Health coaching continues as long as they need it and they may continue with the program that is administered online and in a group for peer support.

      All of our coaches have been certified to work with your patients.  The doctor has access to the training materials as well as the program so that any customizations to the program can be made.

       

      Certification

      Health Coaches are Trained to Know How to Work With You

      • Important Concepts
      • Chronic Care Model
      • Self-Management System (SMS)
      • Patient-Centered Coaching
      • Patient Education
      • HIPAA and Patient Privacy
      • Accountable Care Organization
      • Disease Registry
      • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
      • Appreciative Inquiry
      • Roles, Duties, and Responsibilities
      • Health Coach Schedule Example
      • Role Limitations
      • Communication
      • Other Terms & Concepts
      • Patient Self-Assessment
      • Health Coach Impact
      • How to make assessments
      • How to record results and assessment

      Programs

      Cover Virtually Anything

      Programs include but are not limited to:

      1. Nutrition
      2. Fitness
      3. Sleep
      4. Natural Health
      5. Aging
      6. Full Lifestyle Holistic Programs
      7. Weight-loss

      One coaching program could include:

      • A 12-week weight loss program
      • 2 levels of programming content:
      • a facilitation guide for health coaches to administer the program
      • client materials
      • Socratic method for teaching – worksheets/activities for clients to have “aha” moments
      • Possible meal planning upsell  
      • Program delivery
      • The ability to customize for viewpoints on nutrition while still emphasizing bio-individual beliefs

      Implementation

      Your Health Coaching Program

       Health coaches follow up with the patient with reminders, support, and encouragement, as well as periodic assessment.

      The group supports the coaching by example.  The patients who’ve been successful and are more progressed in treatment and lifestyle changes serve as an example for the other patients.

      • Your team will be trained on the program and given implementation/referral procedures.
        • Establish a supervisor on your team
        • Which patients should have a coach
        • Which program is appropriate to your practice
        • Who will refer patients
        • Establish a reporting procedure
      • Workflows are created to implement the program.
      • Number of health coaches needed will be determined.
      • How and how often your coaches will meet with patients

      You may even have the people you need to run the coaching program or to do the coaching who are already on your team. Whether you have the manpower to handle it already, or need to add 1-10 health coaches, we can help.

      It’s a worthwhile endeavor for everyone involved to add health coaching to any practice.  It’s good for you, the coach, and ultimately your patients.

       

      Lessons in Leadership

      for Health Coaches

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