At most gyms and athletic clubs, for just a little extra a month you can hire a personal trainer to analyze your physical ability, construct a personalized exercise plan, and work with you to achieve your fitness goals. People who use personal trainers swear that they see better results than when they were training alone.
Now, a growing number of healthcare organizations are putting the personal trainer method to work for patients in the form of a health coach. This trend can put patients at ease, increase the continuity of care, improve outcomes, and encourage consumer loyalty.
The value of health coaching
Mercy Clinics in Des Moines, IA, instituted a health coach program in March 2011 in pursuit of the triple aim of improving clinical quality and outcomes, lowering costs, and realizing higher customer satisfaction. The health system appointed an RN to improve the care transition of high-risk patients—those who are admitted with pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure.
"We recognized that our health care delivery system was really geared for acute episodic care and not for providing high quality chronic and preventive care." says Kelly Taylor, director of quality for Mercy Clinics. "Our quality committee charged us with redesigning the delivery system to improve our quality for patients with chronic disease. The health coaches were a key strategy implemented to devote time in the clinic to utilizing information from our disease registry to work with patients not meeting quality goals."