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Trained Health Coaches for Chronic Disease Prevention or Management: A Review of Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: January 6, 2016
Project Number: RC0736-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of using trained health coaches to effect positive behavior changes in persons with chronic disease or those seeking to reduce moderate to high modifiable risk factors for chronic disease?
  2. What is the cost-effectiveness of using trained health coaches to effect positive behavior changes in persons with chronic disease or those seeking to reduce moderate to high modifiable risk factors for chronic disease?
  3. What are the evidence-based guidelines associated with the use of trained health coaches for patient behaviour modification in either the prevention or management of chronic diseases?

Key Message

Seven systematic reviews (SRs), one economic evaluation, and one evidence-based guideline were identified regarding the use of health coaches. In most of the SRs included in this review, heterogeneity between the identified studies meant that no meta-analyses could be undertaken. This prevented authors from forming any firm conclusions regarding the effectiveness of health coaching. A health coaching intervention for patients following myocardial infarction was not determined to be cost-effective when compared with usual care in one economic analysis. In this case, usual care was less expensive and as effective as the health coaching intervention. One guideline based a number of recommendations encouraging self-management techniques for chronically ill patients on literature examining the use of health coaches, though none of the recommendations provided specific guidance as to how health coaches should be incorporated into the continuum of care.