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Can health coaches improve care of insured patients with chronic diseases?

In a real-world study in which low-cost, unlicensed health coaches were part of a team-based primary care approach to managing insured patients with diabetes and/or hypertension, patients reported a better care experience. Reduced physician workload and better coordination of care were among the benefits described in the article published in Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Population Health Management website until May 19, 2016.

Ellis Dillon, PhD, Amy Meehan, MPH, Judith Chuang, MPH, Caroline Wilson, and Ming Tai-Seale, PhD, MPH, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (Mountain View, CA), and Laura Panattoni, PhD, Qualis Health (Seattle, WA), evaluated the referral process, frequency of use, clinical outcomes, and various practice parameters in a large multispecialty clinical that hired two unlicensed health coaches to provide one-on-one support to patients with chronic conditions. They present their findings in the article “Using Unlicensed Health Coaches to Improve Care for Insured Patients with Diabetes and Hypertension: Patient and Physician Perspectives on Recruitment and Uptake.”

“Research like this moves the population health ball down the field. It is action oriented and demonstrates a tangible return on investment,” says David Nash, MD, MBA, Editor-in-Chief of Population Health Management and Dean and Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor, Jefferson College of Population Health, Philadelphia, PA.