Dorothy Rafferty was not unlike other women her age struggling to manage high blood pressure. But when her blood sugar also became elevated, Dorothy's primary care provider suggested she seek additional help.
“She recommended I meet with a health coach to develop a plan,” said Dorothy.
Physician office-based health coaches help to manage the increasing number of patients with chronic conditions, oversee disease registries, educate patients about chronic conditions and improve clinic patient outcomes. Mercy Clinics has health coaches located at each of its primary care clinic locations.
“Having health coaches has helped us avoid potential complications for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. David Swieskowski, Senior Vice President & Chief Accountable Care Officer. “Patients have also told us that they like having direct feedback from their coach so they can stay on track.”
With the help of her health coach, Dorothy set goals — such as planning her diet and incorporating exercise into her daily routine. Dorothy lowered her blood pressure with a steady program of exercise, and the exercise and diet modifications also helped her to lose weight and keep her blood sugar under control.
“It’s effective because it’s tailored to individuals,” says Monica Vail, R.N., health coach manager. “We recognize that individuals are their own best experts. The job of our health coaches is simply to empower people and provide them with accountability and support in the change process.”
"I just needed a little guidance and someone who would hold me accountable,” said Dorothy. “It is not always easy. You have to stay with it. It takes work, but don’t give up.”