Featured Articles                                                   September 2009, Vol. II, No. 5
The Reality of Health Coaching

Attracted to a reality program's emphasis on healthy lifestyles, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has teamed with The Parade Company to launch The Biggest Loser: Detroit Edition contest. In a fitness competition modeled on the television reality series "The Biggest Loser," six contestants will compete in a 12-week weight loss challenge. To guide the contestants through this weight loss journey, BCBSM will provide each contestant a health coach who will meet with them once a week to provide nutrition and exercise advice. Together, BCBSM and WDIV-TV will track the progress of each contestant on through blog and video posts.

"This contest is about eating well and exercising to lose weight," said Ken Dallafior, BCBSM senior vice president of group sales and corporate marketing, in a press release issued jointly with WDIV-TV and The Parade Company. "And the Michigan Blues are looking forward to helping people take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle."

Read full article here.

Quotable: Self-Awareness for Coaches

"When I coach clients on the phone, I tell them that my e-mail is shut down and I will close my computer. I will put aside all other things around me so that I am really present with them and I am not distracted.”
                                        — Kate Larsen, president of Winning Lifestyles, Inc., an ICF-certified professional coach and a Wellcoaches faculty member and mentor coach.

Get more information on finding success in health behavior change.

Wyoming Coaching Enrollment

The Wyoming Department of Health EqualityCare Healthy Together nurse coaching program is reporting high referral and participation rates for certain populations, while providers are noticing fewer patients visiting the ER. The department reported that 79 percent of diabetic patients that were referred to the program worked with a health coach, as did 69 percent of patients diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and asthma.

Once a practitioner refers a client, a Healthy Together nurse health coach monitors and evaluates progress, helps eliminate barriers to care and encourages behavior changes to improve health outcomes. Clients receive disease-specific educational materials to help manage their illness, reminders to keep medical appointments, access to a toll-free 24-hour nurse support line and links to community resources.

"The results are impressive, and I really appreciate the assistance health coaches provide to patients with chronic illness and their families," says Catherine Depalma, M.D., a pediatrician in Evanston, Wyo. "And I have noticed there is a decrease in non-urgent ER visits since referring my patients into the program." Read full article here.

Assessing Patient Activation in Health Improvement Programs
There are many ways to administer the Patient Activation Measure™ (PAM) and many socioeconomic factors that influence its outcomes, explains Dr. Judith Hibbard, developer of the PAM and professor of health policy at the University of Oregon. Dr. Hibbard identifies the PAM scores that signal a behavior change and the value of adding patient activation assessment to a health improvement initiative.

Listen to podcast here.

Motivational Interviewing at Hospital Discharge

Question: What are some strategies for increasing patient engagement and patient activation?

Response: Imagine you’re a hospital and you’re trying to avoid a 30-day readmission because you’re not going to get reimbursed for it. The patient is about ready to be discharged from the hospital but has low activation. It’s likely that you’re going to give them discharge plans that tell them that they need four different medications 12 times a day and they have to do other things as well, and the patient is looking at you with a blank stare. Focusing this patient before they leave the hospital with a motivational interviewing technique or a very strong intervention to prepare them — whether they get discharged home or to another area — to follow the treatment plan, know what to take and when, who to contact if they’re not feeling well or if they don’t understand it, is already moving them toward improving their activation. And in this specific instance, the effort will likely keep them out of the hospital and keep them from being readmitted in the next 30 days.

(Ariel Linden, Dr.P.H., M.S., president of Linden Consulting Group.)

Get more information on quantifying the impact of health and behavior change on healthcare utilization and medical costs.

HCH Readers Save 10% on HIN's Latest Coaching Resource

Picking up where Volume I left off, the Health Coaching Playbook Volume II: All-Star Tips on Patient Engagement, Activation and Behavior Change delivers suggestions and tactics from veteran health coaches, clinicians, psychologists and researchers to move individuals toward healthier lifestyles and behavior change that can significantly suppress an organization's medical cost trend. With a special focus on coaching individuals with chronic illnesses, this resource answers specific queries about essential coaching tools — stages of change, motivational interviewing, integrative health coaching, patient activation, positive psychology and many others, with advice from leading online and telephonic coaching program at the Mayo Clinic, Gordian Health Solutions, Health Management Corporation, Corphealth, PricewaterhouseCoopers and others.

HealthCoach Huddle subscribers can use ordering code HCH to purchase this resource at a special price!

Get more information on coaching FAQs for behavior change.

Healthcare Trends Mid-2009: Surviving and Thriving in a Lean Climate

Some healthcare organizations have seized the economic downturn as an opportunity to test new programs and services. In a new white paper from HIN, learn some of the surprising programs emerging in a leaner business environment, why the first half of 2009 was better than the previous six months for almost half of 65 responding organizations, the top three issues impacting the industry mid-year and much more.

Download complimentary white paper here.

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