Implementing Health Coaching

AMA Steps Forward Module

Health coaching is a team-based approach that helps patients gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to become active participants in their care. The old saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime” demonstrates the difference between rescuing a patient and coaching a patient. Patients with chronic conditions need to learn how to fish. Health coaching can be supplemented with health literacy strategies and effective communication techniques, such as ask-tell-ask, teach-back and/or action planning to ensure patient comprehension of their care plans and help them achieve their goals.

Working collaboratively with patients on health care decisions can improve lifestyle choices and prompt behavior change. The physician can delegate the personalized planning task to a team member (health coach) who engages with patients (and their families) who have chronic conditions or complex health needs. Research shows that health coaching has a significant positive impact on patient health. Having a health coach as part of the team may help the practice meet quality metrics, improve patient satisfaction and behavior change and free up physician time.

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