Featured Articles                                                                                     Mar. 2009, Vol. I, No. 11
Tailoring Coaching Efforts to Patient's Activation Level

LifeMasters Supported SelfCare, Inc. incorporated a new health activation tool for use with its chronically ill participants — the Patient Activation MeasureTM (PAMTM) — which assesses an individual's knowledge, skills and confidence in playing a role in one's own health and healthcare. The PAM, developed by Judith Hibbard, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Oregon, is a 10- to13-question survey that asks people about their beliefs, knowledge and confidence for engaging in a wide range of health behaviors. Based on responses to the survey, each person is assigned an activation score and level. The PAM segments participants into one of four progressively higher activation levels. By understanding participants' "activation levels," LifeMasters health professionals can better tailor participant coaching to an individual's level of activation, helping him or her identify and overcome barriers to behavior change. LifeMasters coaches are trained in the use of motivational interviewing techniques — informed by the insight gained from the PAM tool — which allows them to focus on helping participants develop confidence in managing their health (depending on their activation level) rather than on encouraging behaviors they may not be ready to achieve. The PAM is licensed and marketed by Insignia Health.

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Quotable: Insight into Coaching Strategies

"The PAM positions a patient or a participant across four stages. Figuring out where the individual is using the PAM survey instrument gives you insight into the kind of strategies you need to employ for that person for their education and support.Ē
                                        — Roger Reed, chief consumer engagement architect, Gordian Health Solutions.

Get more information on incentives in health coaching.

Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching

To demonstrate the beneficial impact lifestyle health coaching has on individuals committed to making positive lifestyle changes to improve their overall health, Nationwide Better HealthSM participated in two studies that tested the hypothesis that the most effective interventions for worksite wellness programs are those that provide sustained, individualized, one-on-one risk factor education and counseling. The research showed that lifestyle management program must be well designed and executed in an effective manner in order to optimize the health of employees and to produce high levels of impact and return. Researchers concluded that lifestyle health coaching can help individuals adhere to meaningful behavior changes that lead to cost savings for both the individual and their employer.

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Improving Patient Engagement for Lasting Behavior Change
The daily engagement of Medicaid beneficiaries in self-care health monitoring programs can help healthcare organizations avoid many of the challenges inherent in working with this frequently underserved population, explains Pharos Innovations CEO Dr. Randall Williams. Once participants are identified, they are very receptive to the daily contact, which has resulted in extremely high program engagement rates.

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Health Coach Calls: Recognizing Success in Coaching Programs

Question: How do coaches recognize when patients are ready to self-manage their conditions?

Response: (Dr. Susan Butterworth) We make the assumption right from the beginning that patients do essentially and inherently want better health. They want to feel good; however, there is much ambivalence around it. We help them recognize the areas where theyíre already taking care of themselves. We can validate that. We can work with them on the ambivalence that they have around others and help them take small steps toward that process. It is important to recognize their readiness to change, but we also know that this can change very rapidly. That can change during a 15-minute session, if we can provide that leverage. Sometimes itís around the area of confidence, and sometimes itís around the area of helping them to examine their priorities. But we go into it with the assumption that people do want to be healthy, feel better and live better. Sometimes itís a matter of fear, itís a matter of thinking that they have to give everything up and itís a matter of working with them around some of their values and helping them to find support for those changes.

(Dr. Susan Butterworth is director of health management services at Oregon Health & Science University.)

Get more information on coaching models, methods, measurements and motivation.

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Get more information on obesity and weight management benchmarks and case studies.

Putting Out the Addiction: Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Programs

By funding an expansion of healthcare coverage for children with a 61-cent tobacco tax per cigarette pack, the U.S. government is doing their part in the crusade for tobacco cessation and prevention. Now, HIN examines how over 220 wellness companies, behavioral healthcare providers, PCPs, DM organizations, employers, health plans and hospital/health systems are contributing to the area of tobacco cessation and prevention.

Download complimentary white paper here.



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