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How Lifestyle Management Coaches Can Boost a Physician's Practice

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, December 9, 2010

Wilson hired a lifestyle educator because "I didn't have the time to do it myself. I know I don't have an hour to spend on an initial visit unless I stop seeing other patients," he says.

Generally, Wilson says his patients are seeing better results. "They feel better and are getting lower medication in the process," he says. "They are seeing themselves gaining lean mass and losing fat."

While he works on the "decision-making and treatment plans," the lifestyle educator he hired is handling nutrition education for his patients. "The patients have been excited about it," he says. "They come in with low expectations and they start seeing how quickly they start feeling better on the eating plan."

Wilson says data from his program has shown fiscal success for his practice. Under the program, about 250 patients have enrolled over the past two years, he says. Without providing exact numbers on ROI, Wilson says his income went up by $50,000 to $70,000 with a lifestyle educator working twice a week, which he says is a good return given the minimal overhead involved.

Nationwide, there has been much discussion over the value of intensive lifestyle intervention versus drugs for certain illnesses.

During this year's Endocrine Society annual meeting, it was reported that at least one physician reported that intervention was a better front line intervention than drug therapy for prediabetic conditions. There are also reports indicating that the efficacy of lifestyle intervention can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

But Sunder Mudaliar, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said "lifestyle intervention is effective, but its efficacy wanes over time; it is durable, but its durability goes down over time," according to Endocrine today.

Alas, we are all human, dealing with consistency, and constancy over a long period, to maintain wellness.

Adams walked up to several miles a day, but he still had stress to deal with.

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