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Health Coaches Can Help Increase Patient Engagement

In Asian community health center patients understand their treatment and are actively engaged

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Introducing health coaches who can take on responsibilities to advance lifestyle changes, prevention, and patient health can help to increase patient satisfaction and engagement, according to the American Medical Association.

A health coach can boost a medical practice’s methods for prevention and treatment. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, health educators, and community health workers can be health coaches. A current staff member can be transitioned into the health coach role, or a pre-medical or pre-nursing student intern could be recruited as a volunteer. A current or local employee can be trained to take on the health coaching role part time. The education of health coaches depends on the role they will be required to take within the practice.

According to the report, in Oakland, Calif., each physician has been paired with a health coach in an Asian community health center. Each patient receives the care they need, understands their treatment, and is actively engaged in their own health care. The health coaches are medical assistants who have received additional training in motivational interviewing, pre-visit planning, chronic illness monitoring, and electronic health record management.

“Having a health coach involved in a patient’s care can not only increase patient satisfaction and engagement but also reduce physician stress and burnout by freeing up time,” according to the report.

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