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How health coaching can help your patients-and your practice

Article

When your patients know what to do and why it is important, yet struggle to make lifestyle changes, you could consider a coaching approach. Coaching empowers patients to change ingrained lifestyle patterns and is consistent with patient-centered communication.

Even a serious health scare may not be enough to motivate a change of habits. After a myocardial infarction, overweight patients in one study were only able to decrease their weight by 0.2% after 1 year. (Fadl YY, Krumholz HM, Kosiborod M, et. al. Predictors of weight change in overweight patients with myocardial infarction. Am Heart J 2007;154(4):711-7).

Michael promises to do better. The next week, he transfers his medical care to another physician.

The truth is, change is hard. It's so hard for your patients that they might do anything to avoid it, including switching to a different provider, and continuing behaviors that they know are harmful to their health.

But what if there were another approach? One that was:

Would you try it?

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health