Whole Health Coaches are an integral part of Vera’s on-site clinics. They work closely with providers to develop personalized care plans for patients and advocate for patients to drive their own positive health outcomes. How do they do that? By leading patients to change their behaviors.
Experts estimate that up to 70% of all healthcare costs are related to poor lifestyle choices. The key to improving health is in changing those poor choices. That's where Vera's health coaches come in. They're experts in behavior change. They work to combat poor lifestyle choices by empathetically listening to patients and helping them to transform their unhealthy ways of living. The result is long-term health driven by patients who have learned how to live healthier, happy lifestyles.
Let’s take a look at how this works in practice.
Health coaching starts with empathetic listening
At a patient’s first visit, their health coach will take time to listen to their needs. Empathetic listening is critical for health coaches because it allows them to meet patients where they’re at.
Instead of merely doling out instructions to start exercising or stop smoking, health coaches talk with patients about their goals and barriers to better health. With that understanding, health coaches develop a personalized set of goals that acknowledge the patient’s abilities and needs.
Understanding the difference between coaches and counselors
While counselors focus on working with patients to deal with issues in the past, health coaches focus on the present moment. They look at current health problems and work with patients to come up with action-oriented solutions. Health coaches and patients meet every week or twice per month to follow up on previous goals, revise goal-setting strategies, and set out new goals to achieve before their next session. Over time, this process empowers patients to take ownership of their own health and improve their health outcomes long term.
Vera coaches have time for your employees
At Vera, health coaches ensure that they have the time they need to listen and form meaningful connections with patients. Sessions typically last half an hour, with extra time given to health coaches after the appointment to take notes and review patient progress before the next appointment.
Coaches offer accountability
Most people know what they need to do to improve their health. What they lack is the motivation and accountability required to take action. Regular appointments make health coaches a source of accountability for patients who might not otherwise stick with their goals. Whether it’s meeting face to face or over the phone, the interaction between patients and health coaches ensures that their progress is recognized and supported.
Health coaching is always free
Behavior change takes time. For some people, starting a new exercise regime might take only a few weeks. For others, taking that first step into a gym might be a process that takes six months. At Vera, health coaches and patients always have the time they need because health coaching is always free and unlimited, allowing patients to move at their own pace. Once a patient is on their way to self-efficacy, they can adjust their health coaching schedule to suit their needs, perhaps meeting once a month to check in on progress.
Coaches work in collaboration with providers
At Vera, providers and health coaches work collaboratively as part of a patient’s dedicated care team. In many cases, health coaching starts because of a direct recommendation by a Vera provider. Collaboration results in personalized treatment plans that reflect the benefits of behavior change and medical intervention. For example, a provider who notices someone is prediabetic can educate them about their risk factors and encourage them to meet with a health coach to discuss ways to lower their blood sugar. At all times, providers support health coaches and vice versa, and the patient always gets the benefits of united care from both.