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Interviewing, Hiring, Training, Optimizing the Integration Structure of a Health Coach
- Learn about board-certified health coaches, where to find them, and how to integrate them into your practice.
- How to build a practice centered around patient readiness.
- Discover a first-of-its-kind resource that we’ve built to help you streamline the process of integrating a health coach in your practice and much more.
Where to Find a Health Coach?
The Functional Medicine Coaching Academy- The Most Recognized Health Coaching Experts In The Functional Medicine Movement
Wellcoaches – Wellcoaches School of Coaching is a creative, global leader in teaching science-based and high impact coaching to health professionals, to connect, create, grow, and thrive.
National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching- The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) is overseen by a board of directors, and supported by committees composed of volunteers and staff members who seek to advance the profession of health & wellness coaching. Shortly after forming in 2012, the organization established a Job Task Analysis (JTA) for the industry, which was validated by more than 1,000 practicing health & wellness coaches. It has since been expanded to the HWC Content Outline, which now serves as the framework for the National Board Certification Examination, and the training and education standards that programs adhere to when applying for NBHWC approval. In 2016, the organization began working with the National Board of Medical Examiners (nbme.org) to establish a board certification examination, which has since certified more than 3,000 health & wellness coaches in the fields of healthcare, employee wellness, government, and private practice. The National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaching community is composed of trained, educated coaches, who are passionate about working with patients and clients for better health outcomes.
Health Coach Integration Resources
Memorandum of Understanding Example– a non-legal provider-coach partnership agreement
An MOU is not a contract but rather expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. Many providers and coaches prefer contracts; I understand that. Nathan and I have shared a good-faith understanding, but we knew it was important to have things in writing such as what Nathan was bringing to the table, what I was bringing to the table, and more partnership agreements so that we had ethics in place, values, priorities and work distribution. Nathan and I will update our MOU periodically as our projects changed because of our strategic business planning.
Good Medicine’s First Health Coach Workflow Integration Model
For two decades now, through insurance, hybrid, and cash practice models, Kara Ware has been perfecting this health coaching integration infrastructure model.
This model is a proactive design with the purpose to convert a patient’s emotional distress to empowerment before they meet the medical provider. As a mutual-participatory medical model, Functional Medicine must do a better job at preparing patients to be the provider’s equal therapeutic partner, to take ownership and responsibility of their healthy lifestyle, understanding their medical costs, and driving their healthcare decisions with their chosen provider.
Good Medicine’s Designed Entry Points to make Functional Medicine more approachable, affordable, and sustainable.
Dr. Morris and Kara Ware’s recent strategic business development conversations centered around answering the question of how can We make functional medicine more approachable, affordable, and sustainable and open Functional Medicine up to a broader audience right when the masses need us the most. And this season, we’re sharing our answer. For the past four months, we have evolved Dr. Morris’s dynamic practice and implemented our second iteration of the coach-provider integration workflow.
Good Medicine’s Care Paths New Patient Packet
Dr. Morris shares with our listeners the New Patient Packet we designed for his practice.
Important Practice Metrics- Tracking the Patient’s Journey
This was Good Medicine’s original tool to track patients’ journey. Cerbo has helped Good Medicine to replace this original office system. Cerbo has many practice metric reports that Good Medicine runs weekly. Tracking your front and back-office system metrics is important to prevent patients from falling through the cracks. We also use Cerbo to track those patients who do not convert to paying patients and invite them to the Group Coaching Events.
Technology Configuration and Integration-Good Medicine Workflow Step by Step
When Dr. Morris opened the most recent iteration of his practice Good Medicine, Colorado, we updated his technology platforms and redesigned his front and back-office systems. A well-organized back-office operational systems is the key to a first-class, front-office patient experience. This document details each step of the patient’s journey.
The practice technology we highly recommend are:
RingCentral: Bring employees & customers together with the world’s #1 business communications platform. Message. Video. Phone. Everything you need to get work done in one beautiful app. Cloud-Based. Unlimited Calling. No Contracts. Instant Activation. Fast, Easy Setup.
Cerbo EHR: Cerbo is made specifically for functional and direct pay or cash-based practices. We help innovative practices thrive! Cerbo’s Implementation Specialists are ready to assist you to jump the hurdle in configuring important practice metric tracking features, creating Entry Point Care Path bundles, and personalizing your portal so you can spend more time on the clinical arm of your practice.
LivingMatrix: LivingMatrix is the only technology-based, clinician-designed functional medicine platform for practitioners to effectively evaluate patients, create personalized actionable care plans, and track superior health outcomes over time. LivingMatrix offers free business coaching to their providers.
*PureGenomics: At PureGenomics® we harness the science of nutrigenomics to empower individuals to uncover the relationship between their genes, nutrition, and wellness. Ready to get started integrating PureGenomics into your practice? Schedule your complimentary PureGenomics Business Integration Coaching Session to map your education and integration plan. Schedule Here.
How to Effectively Integrate a Health Coach in a Functional Medicine Practice
A manual to help boost patient activation that will positively affect your patient conversion rates, clinical outcomes, word of mouth referrals, and bolster your bottom line.
About the Training Manual
This manual details not only all the many ways a health coach can benefit your practice but shares
my tested and proven method for interviewing, onboarding, and a health coach workflow integration
model. You’ll learn how to create program bundles based on patient readiness; interview, hire,
onboard, train, manage, and optimize a health coach in clinical practice; and configure the technology
that drives your practice to streamline the patient’s journey. The goal is to keep the patients activated
in the partnership and the process for the length of time required to experience profound results. This
manual outlines the method that is proven to attain this goal.
Buy your ebook here (Thank you for supporting small publishing companies)
The Science of Coaching
Scientists have made significant strides over the past two decades in defining the forces that enable sustainable behavior change, including autonomous motivation, self-efficacy, and other psychological resources that support changes in mindset (attitudes, beliefs, perspectives, identity) and behavior (health habits). There is also a significant evidence base for health and wellness coaching (more than 100 randomized controlled studies), putting the science of behavior change to work in the coaching relationship, where coaches partner with patients and clients to envision a healthier future and implement sustainable habits of mind and body.
Here is a link to access the research papers provided by Margaret Moore which complements the Glossary of Terms she introduced in Episode 2 The Missing Intervention in Health Care: The Science of Coaching.
Season 2. Episode 7
Kara Ware: (00:00)
This is Good Medicine On the Go.
Kara Ware: (00:10)
This is our last episode of season two. Thank you to all of our listeners, worldwide in 40 countries.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (00:20)
Wow. Kara, and even in Louisiana, too, I hear. That’s pretty cool.
Kara Ware: (00:25)
Your home state.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (00:27)
You no longer have to have a passport to get in there. But anyway, let’s remember the question we’ve been answering this season, is how do we make functional medicine more approachable, affordable, and sustainable, really when the masses need it the most? And the two solutions we proposed are building a practice centered around patient readiness and integrating the health coach.
Kara Ware: (00:49)
These episodes they’re building, they have built on one another. So please know that this has been a case that we’ve been building all the way from episode one. So to understand what we’re talking about in this episode, please go back and listen to our earlier episodes if you’re just joining us. This is our crescendo right here. And so in today’s episode, we are going to recap season two, and we’re going to remind you why having more entry points that align with your patient’s readiness, both financial and emotional is so important to the success of functional medicine, and why integrating a health coach is a good business decision. Plus, we’ll give you the next steps, that answer questions like how to find a certified health coach. Should they be certified? What does that certification mean? And what is an efficient method to integrate a coach in your practice?
Dr. Nathan Morris: (01:42)
Plus, we will introduce to you a first of its kind resource, which I’m really excited about, Kara, which is a… Well, I want to give it away, but I’m really excited. And I’m the kind that would ruin a kid’s Christmas, go, “Guess what I got you?” But I’m not going to tell you right now, but I really state it in the episode. We’ve got this amazing resource that is just new to the market, and that’s really been called on by the thought leaders, and it’s been noted that there’s not another resource like this. So, I’m super excited about that.
Kara Ware: (02:22)
Hello and welcome. I am Kara Ware, a national board-certified health coach and business advisor.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (02:30)
And I’m doctor Nathan Morris, a certified functional medicine practitioner.
Kara Ware: (02:33)
So Nathan, you just opened the third iteration of your practice, Good Medicine, Colorado. And in both season one, which was designed as an entry point for providers new to nutritional genomics, and in this season that we’re finishing up today, we’ve been sharing behind the curtain of your practice development. And you and I, we’ve been in several months of business planning all year long prior to you opening Good Medicine, Colorado. And the question we wanted to answer was how do we match a patient’s care plan with their current ability, so to improve patient retention and how do we open functional medicine up to a broader audience?
Dr. Nathan Morris: (03:13)
That’s always been a puzzle to me as I started functional medicine. And until now, functional medicine has set the super high bar for entry for released patients. I mean, that’s what I noticed in my own practice, and quite honestly, the most motivated patients sometimes are those that have the most complex cases. And so we had to set a lot of time aside. But when we did that, we also excluded around 90% of the population. And that was really hard for me to justify in my practice because that 90% of people also need good functional medicine. So they don’t become the complex cases and we can kind of head things off earlier.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (03:53)
And the problem is that these people, because they’re not complex are not a good match for a lot of practices out there and these could be some of the best patients we could ever hope for. A lot of them, our own practice, we’re doing proactive patients now and introductory into functional medicine to reach out and we’re moving that even further with a group coaching event. So I think that this season has been really important showing there’s a different way, as we say in Louisiana, to skin a cat.
Kara Ware: (04:24)
Yeah, we have to re-imagine it and have more entry points for more people to feel comfortable to approach functional medicine and to stick with it. And so remember what Nathan’s talking about of the introductory and the proactive and the group coaching events, this season we’ve introduced creating more entry points based on patient readiness. And there are several arc type patients that we’ve seen over the years, that all are at a different place of emotional and financial readiness. And we wanted to do a better job and we feel we need to do a better job as an industry with preparing patients for this mutual participatory medical model, for welcoming them and co-creating care plans that are matched to their perceived current ability, their emotional and financial readiness.
Kara Ware: (05:11)
So each entry point has a specifically designed care path for each of these arc type patients. And just to recap, to remind you that the entry points and the care paths are the advanced care path. These are for the patients… This isn’t their first rodeo. They understand the functional medicine tenants and the nomenclature and the investment. This isn’t their first rodeo. And then we designed the introductory care path. And these patients may be complex, but they’re brand new to functional medicine and we can quickly overwhelm and send them to the hills. So we wanted to create a care path to match with their current ability and welcome them and onboard them in a more incremental step. And then as Nathan mentioned, we have that healthy entry, the proactive that many people really want right now, is to understand what more can they do for their immune resilience.
Kara Ware: (06:05)
And then the group coaching events. And these were for patients who may not be very complex, but still, want access to the providers, still want to understand functional medicine and how to apply this into their unique and current circumstances, or they may just be still weighing the pros and cons of the investment. And the health coach, the health coach plays a big role in these design care paths. And we have resources available on my website, Karawarecoaching.com, if you like this idea for entry points and you’d like to replicate it, and of course, personalize it for your unique practice. But we also share steps behind Nathan’s curtain of his step-by-step workflow and technology configuration for these care paths, that black office system that drives a front office system experience.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (06:52)
And up next we’ll recap the case for why integrating the health coach and clinical practices a good business decision, right after this.
Kara Ware: (07:09)
This podcast is sponsored by the Atrium Innovations Family of Professional Brands. Offering evidence-based supplements, advancing scientific research, and providing clinical protocols and technology to empower practitioners globally. Atrium Innovations Brands include Pure Encapsulations the number one trusted and recommended brand by practitioners. Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, and LivingMatrix, the fastest growing digital patient management system for functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (07:57)
So this season, we’ve organized a lineup of episodes to build on one another. We keep saying that. But we want you to remember to listen to the season in its entirety, but let’s take a moment now to recap why. Why is integrating a health coach, a solid business decision? And to do that, we’ve brought back some of our expert voices to remind us what we’ve learned this season.
Kara Ware: (08:22)
We heard from Margaret Moore in episode two, a pioneer in health coaching, who in 2002, she identified there was a missing intervention in healthcare. And that was the health coach’s, unique skillset that is a complement to medical providers, medicines, and other interventions.
Margaret Moore: (08:41)
The functional medicine expert physician or other provider is able to do the assessment, the deep understanding of the individual’s history, medical history, lifestyle history, and how that’s led to a set of physiological parameters that are not ideal.
Margaret Moore: (09:02)
The provider has all this great education and knowledge and can provide a prescription of things for the patient to do. And that’s needed, that’s a starting point, but the implementing of that prescription is much more complex because it may turn out that what’s medically most important is not what the patient’s most ready to change. It may be that it has to be reorganized a bit to help them decide, “Okay, which changes do I have sufficient motivation and confidence to even start?” And that then gets into the “messiness” of people’s lives and all that goes into one’s lifestyle, which you can’t do both as one provider. You really can’t unpack the person’s history and patterns and turn that into a vision and small steps at the same time as you’re prescribing and explaining and educating.
Margaret Moore: (10:05)
So they’re really highly complementary because the provider provides the map or at least the touchpoints to improve things, and then the coach can really help somebody turn that into something they can implement slowly but surely. And when you have the provider then cheering them on and supporting them and meeting them in between, you’ve got a team. And now the patient really feels supported.
Kara Ware: (10:35)
Recall that you can find these resources from episode two. We have a glossary of terms that defines the coach’s skill set that Margaret shared, and many of the research papers substantiating the efficacy and the skillset of the health coach. So remember, you’re going to have many resources available at Karawarecoaching.com.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (10:54)
So in episodes three and four, a two-part series, we did a really neat comparison between two highly successful, albeit somewhat opposite in approach health coach integrations in their practices. We talked with Ashley Howell, the lead health coach at Modern Medicine in Texas for episode three, and also looked at our model with Kara Ware in episode four. So there are health coach integration workflows, where we looked at that Ashley sees the patient after the provider does, whereas Kara sees the patient before the provider. There’s a difference in the compensation models where Ashley’s a salary position, whereas Kara is a 10-99. And above and beyond health coaching skillsets, Ashley goes above and beyond the typical role of health coach by interpreting and communicating lab results with patients where Kara also exceeds her role by serving as both my health coach and my business advisor.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (11:46)
So of course, there is no one way, but one of the big things to take away is that each health coach has her unique skillset. We need to make sure we optimize that in our practice and look for what best fits our practice and its needs at that time.
Kara Ware: (12:02)
Yeah, that’s a really good point.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (12:03)
And then there are resources for this episode, there’s technology integration links and resources on how we configured these online tools, whether it’s RingCentral, Cerbo, Electronic Health Records, LivingMatrix, and PureGenomics. We know having a health coach drive the patient’s first encounter is radical. That’s what we discussed in episode four. So remember to read the blog posts and what it looks like when a health coach drives that patient’s first encounter, which I thought was pretty revolutionary in our practice and it really improved our patient retention.
Kara Ware: (12:36)
And we first heard from Dr. Dan Kalish in episode five, who owns the functional medicine practice, Kalish Wellness, and is the founder of the Kalish Institute, an online training program dedicated to building functional medicine practices. And Dan really drove home the point why integrating health coach is a good business decision.
Dan Kalish: (12:59)
Doctors just don’t know how to make business decisions, do they really? Because we’re always making decisions based on the healing capacity of the human body and not realizing that we’re running this business that actually has a requirement to have some kind of profit in it, so we can keep practicing. And so I think if you can kind of separate yourself out for a moment from the clinical side and just saying, “Okay, what’s a practical thing that I should do for the business that I’m running here?” Then having somebody who’s relatively inexpensive bring in a patient who could potentially bring your business three to $5,000 makes a lot of sense. And you start to look at the numbers like that. One new patient, what’s that going to yield to your practice and how much are you investing in this free 15-minute call in terms of expense?
Dr. Nathan Morris: (13:43)
We also heard from Dan on why health coaches are the best-trained professionals to meet the patient as the very first point of contact with your practice.
Dan Kalish: (13:52)
Well, number one, they have enough training to understand the emotional communication part of the equation, but they don’t have enough training to answer the doctor’s questions, which is good because we don’t want to do free medical advice here. And so it was very easy for them to have these boundaries and offer, I don’t want to say sympathy, but offer some kind of again, connection to the practice and an entry to the practice and kind of set the tone. It’s like when you walk into a restaurant and you’re greeted by that first person that always walks up to you at a fancy restaurant, they’re really just the tone-setter. And then you think, “Oh, I’m going to relax,” and then you meet the waiter a little bit later and whatnot. And it’s like that, I think that any good businesses run well wants to set the tone properly for their customers. And that’s really the role of the health coach in that call.
Kara Ware: (14:42)
And then you were introduced in episode six to a new, modifiable lifestyle factor, finances. And we acknowledged that finances are an initiator of illness. And we discussed the question, how can we include this lifestyle factor, finances as part of a patient’s comprehensive care plan without being financial advisors. And if you go back, and this is my favorite episode of the whole season, if you go back and listen [crosstalk 00:15:15] to episode six, we discussed why the health coach is the best person to address this elephant in the room. Finances can be embarrassing, even a shameful conversation. And since the health coach is trained in motivational interviewing to approach this topic in a non-intimidating way, it’s beneficial to address this elephant in the room, to help the patient sustain their functional medicine care and lifestyle for the long journey of transformation.
Kara Ware: (15:42)
And plus, in this episode, we introduced the tool that I designed, a functional medicine care planner that is a tool to help facilitate this kind of awkward conversation of finances that helps the patient to organize and document and track and budget their personalized plan, so that we’re sure it’s a match to their perceived current ability so that we’re working within the parameters of their financial threshold of what’s comfortable to them. And you can find this resort again on my website. So lots of resources this season for you to check out.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (16:16)
And just to reiterate, Kara, I think episode six was also my favorite, as I mentioned with you because I think we do such a poor job in functional medicine talking about this because a lot of times we’re coming from insurance models. We’re a little bit embarrassed, quite honestly, that we had to go to a cash model. And so want to ignore it. We don’t want to look at it and I think we’re doing a real disservice to our patients. So as a provider, letting the health coach have this conversation is going to allow you to have this conversation with your patient so that you can ask earnestly and they can answer honestly about what they’re capable of and you can create plans that fit within their means because this is already a subject that’s been broached. Because patients, like all of us, have pride and they don’t want to say, “I can’t afford this plan you’re giving me.” So really listened to episode six because I think it really does a great job of explaining how to broach this most important of topics.
Kara Ware: (17:15)
And the benefits of working within a patient’s financial threshold.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (17:19)
Kara Ware: (17:19)
Yeah. Our favorite episode. So make sure you listen to that.
Kara Ware: (17:28)
So if you’re convinced now about hiring a health coach, if you agree that we’ve made a compelling case, now let’s talk about the how-to. How to find a health coach and what their certification means. So, Nathan, in 2014, we had heard about one another from a mutual colleague. And I reached out to you and invited you to present with me at a three-hour training lecture. We had never met before. And we literally shook hands in the hallway and presented together as we’ve always known one another. Our skill sets were such a compliment, it was so obvious from the very first meeting. But obviously, this is not a very reproducible way to find a health coach.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (18:10)
No, no, to all the providers out there, instead of waiting around in hallways, waiting for your perfect health coach to show up, which is kind of how my life is. I fall into it, and luckily, but luckily now with lots of effort by leaders in the field, there are multiple ways to find a board-certified health coach.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (18:28)
Okay, Kara, so where can doctors find a certified health coach? And what does that certified part?
Kara Ware: (18:34)
Yeah. Good question. So I’m going to answer that first one, where do you find one? And there are so many health coaching certification programs now available, it’s astonishing really to have watched the industry boom for all these different programs certifying health coaches. So today I’m really going to highlight the three that I’m most familiar with and confident in recommending. And the very first one is the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. And that is where I graduated. I was part of their first graduating class and then later worked for them for a little bit.
Kara Ware: (19:07)
FMCA does a fantastic job with training their health coaches, not only in health coaching skills but also in the language of functional medicine so that your health coach is already trained in that nomenclature. That is so important in functional medicine. It’s a whole world with its own language. And so I highly recommend FMCA and that link will be on the website.
Kara Ware: (19:33)
And then I also recommend Wellcoaches, which is Margaret Moore. That’s her certification that she opened in early 2000. And remember we heard from Margaret Moore and episode two. Health coaches that come out of these programs are able to sit for the board certification exam through the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching, NBHWC. And their website also offers a find a health coach, a board-certified health coach. Now, this board certification is very new and there are many coaches who are more than qualified based on experience but aren’t yet board certified. So honestly, I wouldn’t really rule anybody out just yet if they don’t have that board certification, but going forward, this certification will become the most common and standard in the industry. And so all these places to find a health coach will be on our website.
Kara Ware: (20:30)
So that second part, Nathan, that you asked, well, what does this certification mean? And that certification means that a health coach has undergone rigorous and robust education and testing requirements that ensure they meet the gold standards of the health coaching profession. I actually had a chance to speak with Leigh-Ann Webster, who is the executive director of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching. And in our conversation, we discussed the growth and validity of the health coaching profession over the past few decades. And Leigh-Ann speaks here about the robust board certification now in place for our profession.
Leigh-Ann Webster: (21:07)
In 2016, we began discussing a partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners. And we formalized that partnership in May of 2016. And we like to look at the National Board of Medical Examiners as experts in exam creation and delivery. They’ve been delivering the board certification for physicians for decades, and the organization has a history of more than 100 years. So we’re the content experts. So together, we’ve developed this robust board certification for health and wellness coaches, and we delivered the first exam in September of 2017. At this point we have more than 3,100 national board-certified health and wellness coaches and we have about 1,000 coaches who are going to be sitting for the next exam, which starts in October.
Kara Ware: (22:01)
And further validating the profession, the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches also succeeded in getting category three CPT codes for health and wellness coaches in the spring of 2019. And while there isn’t currently a reimbursable amount attached to this code, Leigh-Ann provided a compendium of research compiled for health coaching to receive these CPT codes that you can find on our website.
Leigh-Ann Webster: (22:26)
This is a monumental step for the advancement of the profession because we have recognition from the American Medical Association and this really leads to more respect and recognition by all healthcare practitioners. So our goal is to move from a category three code to a reimbursable category one code. And we’re currently working on that right now.
Kara Ware: (22:53)
I asked Leigh-Ann for her final thoughts on health coaching as an intervention alongside other medical providers.
Leigh-Ann Webster: (23:00)
Yeah. I think that the secret sauce for health and wellness coaches is that they are trained and educated to work with patients to help them seek long-lasting behavior change, that will reflect in their overall health positively. So I would encourage any physician that’s listening to this show to have an open mind about working with a trained and educated board-certified health and wellness coach. I would also encourage any patient who’s listening to have an open mind about seeking assistance from a health and wellness coach because I think it could really make a positive impact on their overall health and wellbeing.
Kara Ware: (23:49)
So we’ve talked about why integrating a health coach is a good business decision, where to find one, and what does it mean to be a board-certified health coach. And now let’s transition to the how-to. How to integrate, what is a method to efficiently integrate a health coach in practice? Because actually, this can be a challenge. The interviewing the hiring, the onboarding, the training, and knowing how to maximize their role in this practice. This can be a lot of work and stress for a provider. It almost can feel like another job, right, Nathan? And it’s like, well [crosstalk 00:24:20].
Dr. Nathan Morris: (24:20)
Yep. You made it easy, Kara. That’s not the common experience. You just came in and said, “We’re going to do this,” and I’m like, “Yay.”
Kara Ware: (24:30)
Yeah. And that’s what we’re sharing here is that vision. And a good friend of ours, Dr. Dan Kalish, ran into this problem years ago when he also tried to integrate a health coach without a structure, without a method to efficiently integrate a health coach in practice.
Dan Kalish: (24:47)
I think most of the time these doctor coaching relationships are set up in a haphazard way and there’s no plan. It’s just like, “Oh, I heard I need a health coach.” So I bring in a health coach and then the health coach has just left to do their own thing, and it’s really not clear, there’s no structure. So I think if it’s structured and we all agree that 80% of functional medicine is about lifestyle change, and we all agree that most of the doctors don’t want to and don’t have the time, any successful doctor doesn’t have the time to do all the lifestyle coaching that you’re really reliant upon setting up a system where the patient identifies with the coach in a way as a primary provider.
Dan Kalish: (25:27)
If I think about my dentist, I love my dentist. She’s great. But how much time do I spend with her? Not a lot compared to that lady that cleans my teeth. And so my primary relationship is with the dentist, but the teeth cleaning lady is the one that I see every six months for an hour. It’s not unusual to have a provider that’s running the business, the doctor, and then have other people who are actually doing the bulk of the contact and the bulk of the work. We’re all familiar with that as a model, which is bringing that basic idea into a functional medicine environment and seeing how it can work for everybody.
Kara Ware: (26:03)
So Dan is a really successful doctor and has always been a believer in health coaching. But when he tried integrating a health coach into his practice earlier without a structured plan, it became a source of added stress and frustration for both the coach and the provider. And ultimately it just fell through the cracks. It didn’t sustain, it didn’t become successful.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (26:22)
I think the key here is having a plan. And I think as we’ll discuss in our future resource that will be revealed that having a plan is so important. And Kara, fortunately, like I say, I fall into it backward and come out smelling like a rose. You are the queen of plans. I’ve never seen it. You had a plan for me before I knew I needed a plan. But I’m here to tell providers, “You need a plan and you need some help with your plan before you start into this process.” So you know where you’re trying to go, you know the endpoint you want to go with your health coach. You just don’t need to hire a health coach and go, “Okay, let’s make this happen.” You need to have that plan. And so luckily, we’ll expound on that a little bit more later in the program.
Kara Ware: (27:08)
Yeah. And thankfully just last year, Dan was willing to give it another shot and he agreed to let me help him find an onboard health coach for Kalish Wellness. And we found an awesome board-certified health coach who was also a graduate from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, Jennifer Stump, and together Dan and I interviewed her, we trained her, we defined her role in the practice and how she interacted with the rest of Dan’s staff. We trained her for the 15-minute welcome call and to drive the patient’s first encounter. We re-evaluated and created back-office systems for him to streamline patients experience and for the communication system between Dan and his coach, Jennifer. I assisted them with their compensation agreement.
Kara Ware: (27:51)
Dan has told us, he’s thrilled with how his health coach has become an integrated piece, a very successful piece to his practice. And actually, they just celebrated their one year anniversary working together and both are very happy with the results. Each step along the way, I assisted Dan with the method of doing all this and actually, the method that I worked with Dan and really that we organically came up with Nathan and then since have been business advising more practitioners, I’ve compiled all of that experience into a training manual, which is the ebook that we’re going to talk about next.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (28:28)
Here it is, folks, the big reveal.
Kara Ware: (28:31)
The big reveal, right. And so I’ve designed a training manual to help more practitioners and coaches really see a vision forward of how to efficiently and effectively integrate a health coach and more practices.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (28:44)
And I’ve just got to add Cara, there’s no other resource like this in the industry. One of the industry leaders said that was one of the things that we’re really missing, and this was two or three weeks ago, and you’ve been working on this for months. And so it’s really great timing-
Kara Ware: (28:59)
Dr. Nathan Morris: (29:00)
For years, right. But I mean putting the final touches on it. Now, what great timing that an industry leader said, “we don’t have a resource on how to integrate a health coach”. Well, we do now. So excited. Tell us more about what the ebook has.
Kara Ware: (29:14)
Yeah, thanks, Nathan. It’s a step-by-step guide to efficiently, effectively integrate a health coach and maximize their positive potential in your practice. And so you can actually go on my website and take a look at what’s inside. I go through in detail about the entry points that we’ve introduced this season and their design care paths and how the health coach plays a large role in those. I detail out the interview and hiring system and materials, and then the onboarding materials that you’re going to need. And then I have training materials included to optimize that 15-minute call that we talked about in episode five, and how the health coach can drive the patient’s first encounter to best prepare them for this mutual participatory medical model.
Kara Ware: (29:58)
And a sample chart note from that coaching encounter so that you can see what the coach is talking about, how we’re not stepping on your toes. We’re not replicating what you do in your first patient encounter, but all of this is included. And also how the health coach in these roles really helps patients to assume personal responsibility for their healthy lifestyle changes and be your equal therapeutic partner, and how they’re going to approach these medical costs and drive healthcare decisions with you. We have to help patients really assume that consumer role. Healthcare hasn’t been a consumer role up until now. And so we need to help patients know how to be that equal partner.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (30:37)
Yeah, and the health coach does it so well. And we’re so thrilled, this ebook, this resource is finally here, Kara. So congratulations and kudos on a job really well done.
Kara Ware: (30:50)
Thank you. Just in time for Christmas, right?
Dr. Nathan Morris: (30:52)
That’s right. [crosstalk 00:30:54].
Kara Ware: (30:57)
So put it on your Christmas wishlist. All right. Well, here’s what we talked [crosstalk 00:31:04].
Dr. Nathan Morris: (31:04)
Your six-year-old saying, “What is this, daddy?”
Kara Ware: (31:07)
Just what you wanted.
Kara Ware: (31:13)
Here’s what we’ve talked about today. We’ve talked about why hiring a health coach is a good business decision and where to find a health coach. And what does it mean to be board certified, and how to integrate a health coach in your practice.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (31:27)
And remember, the focus of the season was the health coach can make functional medicine more approachable, affordable, and sustainable. If you take nothing away, we’ve said it so many times, Kara, I know people probably tired of it, but really think about it. Making functional medicine more approachable, affordable, and sustainable. And I think that really sums up so well where the health coach fits in and why we’ve taken that and discussed that along with finances. And it’s because the masses really need this right now. This is when we need it the most. And our answer to the question above is how do we make it more approachable, affordable, and sustainable? We integrate a health coach and we designed care paths, which we discussed in the previous episodes based on patient readiness, which was financial and emotional.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (32:18)
And through each episode, we offer a vision for more coaches and providers to have a clear path board of creating an effective, collaborative care team and understand the benefits for the provider, the health coach, the patient, and the practice, and ultimately, society.
Kara Ware: (32:32)
Yeah. And Nathan, up until now, there’s really been more questions and answers on how to integrate a health coach. That’s when I do a lot of my business advisor work is how do I do this? Okay, I know I need to do this, but how do I do it without putting more work on myself? And so this ebook manual really is a training manual that walks you through the interview and hiring, but then you can share with your health coach for those training materials if you like what we’ve presented this season in how to effectively use a health coach’s skill set in your practice.
Kara Ware: (33:05)
And so remember again, I’ve said this several times, but there are a lot of free resources too, in addition to that ebook. And you’re going to find resources from past episodes on my website, which are those entry points to open up functional medicine to a broader audience. We revealed behind Nathan’s curtain and his workflow step-by-step, which I think is a really invaluable tool. Particularly if you are going to use Cerbo EHR, LivingMatrix, and PureGenomics, and we’re going to have links too, to those online tools, if you’d like to get started. And then we have a patient journey tracking and other important practice metrics of how we’re doing that in your practice, Nathan, that compendium of health, coaching research, CPT code information, lots of resources for this very robust season.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (33:53)
So, Kara, I’m just so happy with your putting this ebook out. I think it just goes to show where you come from. And I’d like to pull all this together. What would you say to your first iteration of the CHOW, Kara? And you can explain what chow Kara is. I’ve been talking about it in previous episodes, but it stands for community health outreach worker. This was before there were any health coaches, right?
Kara Ware: (34:20)
Dr. Nathan Morris: (34:21)
And they called you a chow, which is hilarious, but this is Kara. What would you say to her now?
Kara Ware: (34:27)
Yeah. And so you’ll hear more about my story in episode four, but in 2002, when I was ushered really into my calling, health coaching didn’t even have a name. And I had no idea where it would take me or how this profession would go. And I had no idea to simultaneously that same year that Margaret Moore and others were setting in motion, health coaching as a bonafide profession, an important intervention alongside doctors and medicines and other interventions. And I had no idea I’d be sitting here with you, Nathan, re-imagining the functional medicine journey and how to open up to a broader audience and how to effectively integrate a health coach to make functional medicine or approachable, affordable, and sustainable. Remember those three words. And 20 years have gone by and health coaching didn’t even have a name. And now it is a bonafide profession that is here to stay.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (35:16)
Yeah. Kara, that’s so awesome. It’s come so far in such a short time with the visionaries that we’ve interviewed this season, as well as yourself. And I’m speaking to the functional medicine providers here. You guys are accepted with open arms. So health coaching is here to stay and it really is here to stay. If you’re not utilizing it, then you’re missing a really important resource. When I first introduced this to my new practice, some of my providers felt like this was competition. And I was like, that’s the biggest misconception. It is not a competition, it’s a complete win-win situation. And the thing is that whether you employ your 10-99, and I like 1099 because it creates this partnership where we’re both seeing how we can drive the practice and we’re not competing, but we’re trying to be synergistic, a compliment to each other.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (36:10)
We’re improving conversion rates, patient activation, which is really important as I opened a new practice, which we’ll get into more next season, how we do that with marketing, but patient retention, once somebody calls your office is really important that that’s the key right there. You hold on to that call. That’s the hardest thing to get. And then we were able to optimize clinical outcomes. I have less work to do. As a provider, I was seeing that I wasn’t having to teach everyone how to eat a proper diet, how to budget, how to do the things that just come so naturally to health coaches. I mean, my bottom line improved exponentially with the addition of a health coach. It is not a burden, financial or in any other way. So really it’s time. It’s time for us to start integrating one of the most abundant and powerful resources we have in functional medicine.
Kara Ware: (37:06)
Wow. Yeah. Thank you. That’s so well said. And there are so many training certification programs and so many certified health coaches now. Now we need to put them to work.
Kara Ware: (37:17)
So thank you for listening as Nathan and I re-imagine the functional medicine journey. And we hope you have enjoyed this season. Remember to go to Karawarecoaching.com\podcast for show notes and resources and the published ebook for health coach integration, with the interviewing and onboarding and training materials.
Kara Ware: (37:40)
I’d like to thank everyone who is responsible for making this podcast possible. To our sponsors, Pure Encapsulations, Douglas Laboratories, Genestra Brands, and LivingMatrix and to our writing team, Kelsey Stafstrom and Paul Larkin, and our audio engineer, Isadore Nieves. And remember if you’d like to support this podcast, will you please subscribe and rate and review and tell a friend.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (38:05)
Kara, what a great season. And stay tuned for season three, which we’ll release in March.
Kara Ware: (38:11)
Yeah. That’s going to be so good. And we’re going to tie in season one and season two together and build on everything we’ve learned.
Dr. Nathan Morris: (38:17)
Looking forward to it, Kara.