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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Health Coach - York University Program

I was at an National Institute for Health Informatics (NIHI) conference at York University when I heard about York's Health Coach program. From my relatively short time studying and being involved with Health Informatics, I really think this program will have relevance in the future. Here is part of the description I thought most interesting:

"York's commitment to health coaching is related to the increasing capacity of 21st century technologies to eliminate the need for office consultation. Many tests that are presently implemented or planned during medical office consultations will be planned by phone and undertaken at home as primary care and specialist physicians increasingly use remote monitoring to precisely assess patient status. As this trend develops, patients and caregivers will become increasingly motivated to improve behavioural effects on health. The health coach will be the first line of contact in stimulating and supporting health-behaviour change, acting in alignment with treating physicians. This improves the scope of services being delivered and lowers delivery costs by leveraging cost effective people."

It does sound to me in-line with Dr. Eric Topols' "creative deconstruction of medicine", but I haven't read the book yet, and have no idea if he mentions this type of role. Dr. Topol will be a keynote speaker at the eHealth conference in Ottawa this spring. Certainly, from the research I have seen on personal health records, there is room and a need for Health Coaches.