Back

How the Rise of Health Coaching Is Bringing Long-Term Benefits to U.S. Healthcare

Posted August 30, 2022

Category: Integrative Health

If you’ve been keeping an eye on medical news and journals recently, you might have noticed a rising trend in the interest in health coaching. Journals like Family Medicine, Physicians Practice, and Global Advances in Health and Medicine have all published articles on the value that health coaches bring to medical practice, and the American Medical Association concurred, in a recent article titled, “Why Your Medical Practice Needs a Health Coach.”

This is part of a general upward trend in public interest pertaining to a range of integrative and holistic therapies and practices. It’s a trend that’s only increased over the past few years due to the COVID pandemic.

“Increasing numbers of people in the U.S. are seeking both to strengthen their own immune systems as well as to diminish the impact of a positive COVID diagnosis on their health,” said Bruce Cryer, Executive Director of the Integrative Health Institute at Salem University. “Health coaches and community health advocates are being brought in to assist in the ongoing care of chronically ill patients, which now includes those suffering from long COVID.”

Proponents of health coaching point out that these professionals can fill an urgent, significant gap in the current U.S. healthcare system, providing ongoing support for people dealing with complex chronic conditions or helping those with acute illnesses on their recovery journey.

The Better Care Playbook, a website dedicated to spotlighting evidence-based practices to improve care for adults with complex needs, wrote:

“Evidence has shown that health coaching can help patients improve their health. Health coaching helps patients build the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to manage their chronic conditions. Health coaches empower patients to play a central role in clinical encounters and to engage in self-management activities at home, work, and school, where they spend most of their lives.”

It's a profession that facilitates the desire so many Americans have to be active drivers in their own medical decisions. Health coaching can help individuals adopt practices and behaviors that can create long-term benefits. Employers are recognizing this need as well, with many looking to include health coaching in their comprehensive medical benefits packages in order to support the long-term health of their employees.

“Since employers and employees bear the largest cost of healthcare in the U.S. largely for-profit system, it is in the employer’s interest to provide extra coaching and support,” says Cryer. “This is particularly true for those employees on the edge of ill health due to physical, emotional and/or mental health issues both to ensure higher performance and general well-being but also to reduce healthcare costs.”

Recognition of this growing need and the vital importance of the health coaching role were the impetus behind Cryer’s team developing a coaching program for IHI at Salem.

“We have developed an Integrative Health Coaching program to address these needs within both the U.S. healthcare and corporate systems,” says Cryer, “as well as to assist individuals outside the health insurance system who need help to better manage and improve their conditions through a trained, qualified and supportive health coach.”

IHI’s Integrative Health Coaching program is a 16-week, 6-credit-hour graduate-level certificate of completion that prepares you with the holistic coaching skills you need to support a diverse set of clients or patients. It combines knowledge of healthy lifestyle factors with self-awareness and behavior modification strategies so you can make a significant positive impact on those you serve.

Find out more about Salem University’s IHI, the Integrative Health Coaching certificate, and other integrative health programs.

 

 

Further References from NIH related to Health Coaching

Ostbye T, Yarnall KS, Krause KM, Pollak KI, Gradison M, Michener JL. Is there time for management of patients with chronic diseases in primary care? Ann Fam Med. 2005;3(3):209-214. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physcial activity do adults need? Available at: http://www .cdc.gov/physicalactivity /basics/adults/. Accessed December 16, 2015.

 

Lindner H, Menzies D, Kelly J, Taylor S, Shearer M. Coaching for behaviour change in chronic disease: A review of the literature and the implications for coaching as a self-management intervention. Aust J Prim Health. 2003;9:177-185.

 

Olsen JM, Nesbitt BJ. Health coaching to improve healthy lifestyle behaviors: an integrative review. Am J Health Promot. 2010;25(1):e1-e12. [PubMed]

 

Wolever RQ, Eisenberg DM. What is health coaching anyway?: standards needed to enable rigorous research. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2017-2018. [PubMed]

 

Simmons LA, Wolever RQ. Integrative Health Coaching and Motivational interviewing: Synergistic Approaches to Behavior Change in Healthcare. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013;2(4):28-35. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

 

Butterworth S, Linden A, McClay W. Health Coaching as an Intervention in Health Management Programs. Disease Management & Health Outcomes. 2007;15(5):299-307.

 

 

Wolever RQ, Simmons LA, Sforzo GA, et al. A systematic review of the literature on health and wellness coaching: defining a key behavioral intervention in healthcare. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013;2(4):38-57. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

 

Pearson ES, Irwin JD, Morrow D, Battram DS, Melling CW. The CHANGE program: comparing an interactive vs. prescriptive approach to self-management among university students with obesity. Can J Diabetes. 2013;37(1):4-11. [PubMed]

 

Frosch DL, Uy V, Ochoa S, Mangione CM. Evaluation of a behavior support intervention for patients with poorly controlled diabetes. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(22):2011-2017. [PubMed]

 

Annesi JJ, Unruh JL, Marti CN, Gorjala S, Tennant G. Effects of the coach approach intervention on adherence to exercise in obese women: assessing mediation of social cognitive theory factors. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2011;82(1):99-108. [PubMed]

 

Brodin N, Eurenius E, Jensen I, Nisell R, Opava CH. Coaching patients with early rheumatoid arthritis to healthy physical activity: a multicenter, randomized, controlled study. Arthritis Rheum. 2008;59(3):325-331. [PubMed]

 

Hawkes AL, Chambers SK, Pakenham KI, et al. Effects of a telephone-delivered multiple health behavior change intervention (CanChange) on health and behavioral outcomes in survivors of colorectal cancer: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31(18):2313-2321. [PubMed]

 

Holland SK, Greenberg J, Tidwell L, Malone J, Mullan J, Newcomer R. Community-based health coaching, exercise, and health service utilization. J Aging Health. 2005;17(6):697-716. [PubMed]

 

Karhula T, Vuorinen AL, Raapysjarvi K, et al. Telemonitoring and Mobile Phone-Based Health Coaching Among Finnish Diabetic and Heart Disease Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res. 2015;17(6):e153. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

 

Kim MT, Kim KB, Huh B, et al. The Effect of a Community-Based Self-Help Intervention: Korean Americans With Type 2 Diabetes. Am J Prev Med. 2015;49(5):726-737. [PMC free article] [PubMed]