This innovative program was rolled out in 2014 to students who plan to pursue careers in the medical field. The program gives students early contact with patients and the opportunity to learn from them, extends the reach of the care managers and results in better adherence with care plans and fewer hospital re-admissions
The Health Coach Curriculum is taught by physicians and other experienced providers on the RIT campus, followed by a practicum experience with the GRIPA Care Managers and ultimately their own assigned patients. Health coaches remind patients to take their medicine, to exercise and to eat nutritiously. The rapport they build can clarify misunderstandings between patients and healthcare providers and coaches relay information about their patients’ home environment, nutrition and health needs during weekly debriefings with the health care team.
The Health coaching program benefits everyone involved. It is a simple but effective initiative to improving healthcare delivery in Rochester. In turn, the program educates RIT students in the complexity of care management, such as how the care management team assists patients in recognizing symptoms of their conditions, adhere to their medication, and navigate the complex health system. It gives them invaluable self-awareness regarding their potential role in one of the many healthcare professional positions of the future.
While the program has been invaluable for the students and for providing additional eyes and ears for the care managers, more importantly, the patients are ultimately the beneficiaries of this program. Over the period of a few months, the students build strong relationships with the patients and have improved their health. They have encouraged them to follow their care plans and have contributed to keeping chronically ill patients out of the hospital.