Train a health coach to call plays for your hypertensive patients

July 25, 2012

A new study at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) shows that a little health coaching can go a long way toward controlling hypertension.

A new study at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) shows that a little health coaching can go a long way toward controlling hypertension. In fact, the study saw an average 22 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure among a low-income minority population. But the lessons learned from the study apply to all primary care physicians, reports co-author Thomas Bodenheimer, MD. UCSF coaches reached out to their hypertensive patients through weekly telephone calls and delivered a dose of education on diet, medication adherence, monitoring, and follow-up on behavioral modification. And it worked. The coaches (all with undergraduate degrees) received 16 to 20 hours of training on hypertension, adherence, and facilitating lifestyle behavior changes. The study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, suggests that you can use existing staff, with little training, to help manage patient outreach and save time.

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