The Growing Trend of Health Coaches in Team-Based Primary Care Training A Multicenter Pilot Study.

Research paper by Nicole M NM Gastala, Peter M PM Wingrove, Anne H AH Gaglioti, Winston W Liaw, Andrew A Bazemore

Indexed on: 14 Jul '18Published on: 14 Jul '18Published in: Family medicine


Team-based care with health coaches has improved the quality and cost effectiveness of chronic disease management and prevention. Clinical health coaches partner with patients to identify health goals, create action plans, overcome barriers to change, reinforce physician recommendations, and coordinate care. It is important to train resident physicians to practice in team-based settings. To date, there have been no studies of resident family physician exposure to health coaches. We surveyed 465 residency directors through a larger omnibus survey sent out by CERA; the response rate was 53.7%. Directors were asked about resident exposure to health coaches, the types of patients seen by health coaches, and the training background of the health coaches. We used chi-square tests to examine the relationship among these variables and program characteristics including status as a patient-centered medical home. Almost two-thirds of the programs reported at least some residents had exposure to health coaches. Residents who trained in continuity sites with a PCMH certification of level 3 were more likely to have any exposure to health coaches (P<.05). There were multiple significant relationships between populations of patients seen and the training background of health coaches. To improve quality, reduce costs, and become more patient centered, primary care is rapidly transforming into a team sport with a broadening roster of new players, including health coaches. This study documents positive rates of resident exposure to health coaches but also great variability in types and amount of exposure that merit further investigation and exploration of ways to grow family medicine residency contact with a diversifying practice team.