Here Comes the (Healthcare) Coach

Pete Celano, 10 October 2015


The coaching era is upon us in healthcare, where especially for chronic diseases, the formula will be like this:

Mobile App + Mid-Level Expert (e.g., Dietician, Diabetes Educator) + Constant Communication.

The Constant Communication will be text messaging from inside the Android or iPhone app, voice calls or video calls — often 24/7.

In Behavioral Health, there’s Silver Spring, Maryland-based Mindoula.

And consider this recent Kurbo Health/Humana alliance

How Kurbo Health’s Mobile Health Plans Works

Based off a digital adaptation of the renowned Stanford Pediatric Obesity Program, Kurbo combines a food and activity tracker mobile app with subscription-based, personalized coaching via text, phone calls and video chat. As part of the twelve-month subscription to Kurbo Health’s mobile health coaching and weight loss program, Humana will offer employee’s children:

– a dedicated Kurbo coach that will meet with the parent and child each week to provide encouragement, review progress and set goals via phone or video conference

– daily motivation and support by text, phone and email.

– easy-to-understand food classification system makes it simple for kids to identify the foods that will help them achieve their goals and limit the ones that won’t.

– Mobile app that tracks food and exercise, and monitor progress through fun games, videos and weekly challenges.

I just tried the adult weight loss offering from Palm Beach, Florida-based MCI Health — I had a Bluetooth-enabled scale, mobile app and a coach named Theresa (a behavioral weight therapy interventionist).  I tried it for two weeks without their pre-packaged meals, and then two weeks WITH their pre-packaged meals.  Either can prove compelling for obese adults who aim to lose a substantial amount of weight in a sane, methodical way.

Coaching is the “Next Now Thing” in healthcare because smartphones are ubiquitous, and combined with constant contact via advisors armed with the right, evidence-based methodologies?  It’s low cost, high touch, profoundly convenient and will prove relentlessly effective in creating better outcomes.


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