Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't Try to Go At It Alone

Caroline Lu of the Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation wrote a brilliant blog this week laying out the results of a study where people made positive health behavior changes by working with health coaches. The truly fascinating part of the project is that progress was shown when coaches helped individuals identify their strengths, and in determining their strengths, help build confidence and small success.

Rather than back the dump truck up and tell people "Here are the 45 things you need to do by tomorrow to improve your health" (which inevitably leads to accomplishing zero), this observed research supports design thinking that building on what we do well (for me, it is regular exercise) as a springboard to improve where we need it (nutrition, until Reese's Cups makes it as a basic food group).

Health coaching is a great thing to help facilitate health behavior change, but it is also time consuming and expensive. I wonder if technology, social networking, and asynchronous coaching (content, e-mail, text, message posting) could provide anything close to a similar level of benefit without direct, face-to-face health coaching, which is out of the reach of most people? How can we as health innovators help consumers benefit from the results of this study any time, any where?

Link to Caroline's blog:


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