Featured Articles                                                   March 2010, Vol. II, No. 11
Health Coaching, Pharmacist at Core of Diabetes Management Program

Individual health coaching and personalized diabetes counseling are at the core of Walgreen's new Optimal Wellness™ program, an innovative self-care educational program for people with chronic conditions that will initially focus on type 2 diabetes. Optimal Wellness capitalizes on the power of face-to-face interaction, and transforms the community pharmacy by expanding the pharmacist's role as a trusted provider of healthcare services.

The program uses a patient-centric approach that works in concert with the patient's primary care physician (PCP) to help them more easily understand their disease and features a program of individual health coaching and diabetes counseling personalized to meet patients' needs. It is based on the North Carolina Center for Pharmaceutical Care's highly successful Asheville, N.C. diabetes care project, as well as previous Walgreens diabetes pilot education programs developed by Walgreens and Joslin Diabetes Center.

Optimal Wellness leverages thousands of healthcare providers, including community pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners. These personal health coaches will help identify patient challenges to managing their condition and counsel them on overcoming those obstacles, as well as reinforce and support all aspects of physicians' prescribed treatment plans. Following each interaction with a health coach, the patient's PCP will be notified with details of the meeting. Each coach has been trained through a program developed with the help of Joslin Diabetes Center and certified by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

According to Dr. Lucy Crane, Walgreens corporate medical director, "Nearly 900 people die from complications from this disease every day. Providing patients with their own personal health coach will enable them to develop a step-by-step diabetes plan that is ongoing, convenient and customized to daily life. Directly engaging with patients leads to far better adherence and ultimately better outcomes when treating chronic diseases."

Get more information here.

Quotable: Providing Positive Emotions in Health Coaching

"When working with others, balance the positive and negative. If you're providing negative feedback, make sure there's at least three times as much good news. During coaching, don't start out talking about problems. Rather, talk about what's working and what has been accomplished. In the medical arena, we generally focus on the bad stuff. We tell people what's not working, what their health risks are, and that they've got poor biometrics. This creates a challenge because we are not fostering positive emotions. If those emotions are not there, it's very hard for clients to walk away and say to themselves, 'I can do this. I'm ready to go.' We must pay more attention to fostering positive emotions. Clients should end the session feeling more positive. That's a critical outcome."
                                        — Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches.

Learn more about positive psychology in healthcare coaching.

Fighting Metabolic Syndrome with Health Advocates, Social Networking

CIGNA is now providing a new 90-day work site lifestyle improvement program to help people combat metabolic syndrome by helping them adopt healthy behaviors, such as increased physical activity, better eating habits, weight loss and stress reduction, all with help from social networking and health advocates.

CIGNA's Metabolic Syndrome Improvement Program consists of weekly one-hour sessions for 35 to 50 participants facilitated by a health advocate at an employer's work site, although sessions can also be delivered online. The facilitator helps participants understand the relationship between lifestyle and chronic disease and helps them to learn to make healthy choices related to carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Some sessions focus on making those choices at the supermarket or when dining out, while other sessions focus on cardiovascular activity, strength training and stress management. The curriculum includes videos featuring renowned medical journalist Dr. Mona Khanna, and participants also have access to additional online learning modules at any time. They also receive a workbook with motivational articles, health tips, check lists and homework assignments.

The social networking aspect of the program provides participants an opportunity to share their experiences and to keep one another motivated toward making healthy behavior changes.

In the workplace, metabolic syndrome affects about one out of three employees, most of whom appear healthy but have approximately seven times the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, approximately three times the risk for developing heart disease and a greater risk of dying. They also spend four times as much on medication and miss twice as many days of work due to illness compared to their healthier co-workers. Because it's offered at the work site, CIGNA's Metabolic Syndrome Improvement Program is convenient for employees and saves them time. It also helps create a supportive environment through an experience that's shared among friends and colleagues.

Read the full article here.

Readjusting Behavior Goals for Coaching Success
A move backward in readiness to change should not be perceived as a failure on the client's part but rather as an opportunity to readjust behavior goals, observes Kate Larsen, president of Winning LifeStyles, Inc., an ICF-certified professional coach and a WellCoaches® faculty member and mentor coach. There's value in reminding clients that health coaching is a journey and in checking coaching egos at the door to improve listening skills and allow clients to own their behavior change goals, notes the author of "Progress, Not Perfection."

Listen to podcast here.

Engagement vs Participation

Question: How do you define "engagement" or "participation" in phone-based coaching?

Response: Participation and engagement are two different things. To me, engagement means that the individual is doing something beyond just signing up for the program. Participation means that they have signed up and said, "Yes, I will participate in the program." Engagement means that there is some ongoing action that takes place. When we look at how we define engagement, we define it for our clients and our participants as a month-to-month issue. We would expect a participant in our wellness program to engage at a minimum of once a month basis with our coach — either telephonically or via the secure message board — until they have reached completion of either interim or final goals. Engagement in my definition would mean someone who is ongoing, moving along and continuing their participation in the program in a way that's leading to some ultimate goal that has been established.

(Dr. Jim Reynolds, chief medical officer for Health Fitness Corporation.)

Learn more about measuring ROI in health coaching.

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Get more information on health coaching benchmarks.

Health Coaching Moves Focus Upstream to Behavior, Motivation and Readiness to Change

Health coaches are at the heart of healthcare continuum, reflecting an industry shift from simply targeting chronic conditions to addressing all conditions within the disease management spectrum, with an emphasis on wellness and prevention. With data from real-life coaching initiatives, this white paper provides an overview of health coaching, the behavioral theories and training that support it and commentary from organizations that have implemented health coaching to reduce healthcare costs and improve population outcomes.

Download complimentary white paper here.

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