Welcome to the February edition of Healthy Connections. This month’s newsletter highlights the role of a health coach in the lives of patients and why health coaching is becoming so important in the healthcare industry.
What’s love got to do with it? Check back on our blog next Monday, February 8th when our own Barbara Eichorst explains how the month of love relates to diabetes management, and provides tips for self-care, loving yourself and your patients.
Healthy Connections has been organized into two quick read sections:
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 11AM EST / 10AM CST
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of all deaths in US are the result of chronic conditions. Moreover, it is estimated that over 140 million Americans—nearly half the population—currently live with at least one type of chronic condition. The impact of these statistics is staggering, both in terms of the human suffering and the dollars spent each year in the treatment and management of chronic conditions. It also highlights the growing need for the role of a health coach within the healthcare system.
Health coaching has been defined as: the practice of health education and health promotion within a coaching context, to enhance the well-being of individuals and to facilitate the achievement of their health-related goals.1
Though health coach is not a professional designation, the best health coaches are those who are professionally licensed to deliver patient care—such as nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who provide self-management education.
For those of us who are Certified Diabetes Educators, we already function as the coach and have the advanced skills in facilitating a behavior change needed to improve health outcomes.
More novice educators who desire to advance their skills in learner-focused education, motivation, and support might benefit from becoming a coach.
Assuming the title of a health coach helps patients to see their health provider as a partner with an interest in the person’s overall health. As a health coach, you are in a unique position to help patients improve their lifestyles and manage their disease more effectively. Your efforts, both through group sessions and motivational interviewing, serve to inspire patients and give them practical help in setting healthy lifestyle goals. As a professional health coach, you are also uniquely situated to collaborate with physicians and augment their efforts with their patients.
A review of the scholarly literature available shows that coaching interventions are effective at facilitating changes in patients’ lifestyles that lead to healthier eating, increased physical activity, better medication adherence, more successful weight management, and improved mental health. Several key features were identified that make health coaching programs particularly effective: goal setting, motivational interviewing, collaboration with the primary healthcare providers, and a program duration of 6 to 12 months.2
And now with the digital technology available, health coaches have even more tools to stay connected to their patients. The HI Digital Coaching Platform, via your computer or smart phone, helps you provide timely support and encouragement to your patients—particularly those who live in remote locations or have travel limitations. Your patients can get answers quickly when the need arises and stay on track to meet their health goals. And you can give guidance, track progress, send reminders, and celebrate successes quickly and easily.
Additionally, HI Digital is HIPAA compliant so all communication is confidential and your patient’s privacy—as well as your own—is protected.
The true effectiveness of health coaching is in the human connection you provide. No amount of technology can replace your expertise or your ability to empathize with and encourage your patients. They are ultimately in the driver’s seats of their own lives, but as a health coach, you are there to help read the map and guide them along the road toward better health.
1Palmer S, Tibbs I, Whybrow A. Health coaching to facilitate the promotion of healthy behavior and achievement of health-related goals. Int J Health Promot Educ. 2003.
2Jeanette M. Olsen, BSN, RN; Bonnie J. Nesbitt, PhD, RN. Health Coaching to Improve Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors: An Integrative Review.
Healthy Interactions is excited to announce our first of four continuing education webinars to take place on March 15, 2016. The webinar will be FREE, covering The Diabetes Educator Role in Delivering DSME/S in Healthcare Systems and will be led by our Vice President of Clinical Practice, Barbara Eichorst. The learning outcome of this program is to increase the knowledge of diabetes educators about when people with type 2 diabetes are best to be referred to DSME/S, how DSME/S is provided, and to understand the barriers that limit access to DSME/S. This knowledge can assist educators in increasing DSME/S referrals.
You can learn more about the webinar and register here.
Healthy Interactions invites you to join our newly launched, exclusive Linkedin group, Diabetes Educators Using Conversation Maps® and Digital Coaching Platform. This group provides the opportunity to share your best diabetes management practices and gain tips from fellow facilitators, as well as our own Barbara Eichorst. We’ll be posting engaging content to help inspire and make new friends. Feel free to ask your colleagues about our app and digital coaching platform, group facilitation, updates in the diabetes world, and DSME/S.
To learn more and to join, please click here.
On January 21, 2016, Healthy Interactions hosted the webinar, Smart Phones, Smart Coaches, Smart Patients: How to Use Digital Coaching in Diabetes Management. Anna Gofeld, RD, CDN, MAN, our Digital Coaching Lead, and Barbara Eichorst, MS, RD, CDE, our Vice President of Clinical Practice, led the webinar, which focused on the value of DSME/S digital coaching interventions and best practices to improve outcomes for people with diabetes.
If you missed this, you are still able to check it out here.