We are constantly working to reduce the high cost of healthcare and improve patient outcomes. One area in particular that has taken a big leap in utilizing technology is behavioral health. During the IRHA Conference we learned of a pilot program lead by Centerstone Research Institute using health coaching and mobile technology.
Health coaching is relatively new to healthcare; the focus is for patients to achieve healthy goals. The health coaching model is based on developing relationships with the patient, motivating them to identify unhealthy behavior and work towards taking action to change it. Health coaching works very well within behavioral health, especially for serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI). Centerstone’s pilot program utilized mobile technology to engage their SPMI patients and connect them with their health coach.
Centerstone’s model utilized technology not only to connect and communicate with the patient but also to receive vital information and monitor data. During the program Centerstone gave some of their patients an iPhone loaded with useful apps such as Ginger.io for remote monitoring and self-assessment. Ginger.io collects information from the device and the patient through surveys and reports it to the provider. These tools give the provider a glimpse into the patient’s day to day health they would otherwise not see. Along with the smartphone, Centerstone also provided some patients with other mobile technology such as fit bit to encourage and monitor activity. Centerstone received very positive feedback such as reduced hospitalizations and ER visits and overall cost savings to the healthcare system.
Utilizing technology to monitor and stay connected with patients has proven to be a great addition to health coaching. It’s exciting to see new fields emerge and combine with current technology to improve patient outcomes.