Let’s face it, if our goal as healthcare providers is to get people to move away from their unhealthy lifestyle, we need to help educate them so that they may take more responsibility for their health. Our nation’s transactional system of healthcare, in which patients see doctors only when they are sick, is obviously broken. Patients will make sustainable changes to their lifestyle only when they understand the choices that impact their health.

This is our approach to healthcare, and it begins with creating trusting relationships between our clinicians and the patients we serve.

Understanding and Eliminating Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

We do this by giving clinicians the time necessary to work with patients and get at the root of their health concerns through effective health coaching and chronic condition management. It’s not uncommon for visits at our health centers to last 45 minutes.

The methods used by our clinicians include motivational interviewing and appreciative inquiry – two strengths-based focused techniques that help individuals take control of their own health, in a positive, meaningful way by guiding them to continue to move forward.  It is a partnership that fosters opportunities for individuals to have their voices heard, to focus on thinking and talking in a positive fashion on a regular basis and encourages individuals to share their hopes, dreams and passions during a very personal experience towards a positive change.

Making Lifestyle Goals

Motivational Interviewing and Appreciative Inquiry complement goal setting by using an alternative approach to either personality or problem solving-based development. They focus on the human elements of imagination, emotion, conversation, engagement, orientation, and self-direction.  These coaching methods are a positive approach to finding ways to do things better by focusing on the individual’s strengths, values, perceptions, beliefs, desires and past successes.

These skills use approaches to help the individual envision what their “goal” looks like, design the “journey” for change building on strengths and how they are going to get there, and help them to their destiny while celebrating successes along the way.

And we provide training for this approach along the way. Following their “emersion” at Marathon Health, our clincians complete a self-study program to further their familiarity with our workflow and technology, and shadow a provider at one of our existing sites to see it all in practice. Our providers are continually honing their knowledge and skills through remote, self-paced continuing education, and a peer-to-peer network with other Marathon Health providers around the country.

Our model allows clinicians to reconnect with their reasons for going into medicine in the first place. It’s about changing unhealthy lifestyles, not simply treating symptoms.

About the Author

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