Our New Normal: Telephonic Health Coaching

This pandemic has created a boom in one specific area of working virtually, telehealth is booming! Does your organization offer telehealth services? If not, it would be worth looking into! From a health coaching perspective, telephonic health coaching offers several benefits, even when a pandemic is not part of the equation.

Aside from the ability to offer services while social distancing, here are some other benefits:

  • Enhanced timeliness of appointments
  • More frequent contact possibilities
  • Mobility for both users
  • Improved adherence to medication and treatment plans

However, there are some specific aspects of telehealth that need to be considered in order to make it as successful as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Content should be clearly structured
  • Don’t try and accomplish too much in one setting
  • Most effective telephonic programs are linked to outpatient clinical follow-ups, so make a plan on how to actually see these patients in person at some point, if you can do so safely
  • Incorporate outcome measures to validate the program’s impact

What should these phone appointments look like? Here are some things to consider:

  • Schedule the call and make sure you have enough time between calls if you are filling a telephonic schedule
  • Create an agenda with the patient for each subsequent call and make sure you stick to that agenda during each call
  • Use active listening skills for maximum effectiveness. Keep in mind that the mobility benefit can create more opportunities for one or both parties to have to deal with distractions during the appointment.
  • Avoid using speaker phone. If you don’t want to have a regular phone call, set up services with Zoom or a similar service.
  • Do not multi-task. Stay focused on the patient at all times!

Telehealth offers so many benefits and now that social distancing is so important, it is a wonderful opportunity to capitalize on to keep patients on track during this pandemic. Make sure to look into the legalities of this option as well!

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