The Year Of The Digital Health Coach

Health coaching has quickly become a critical piece of population health, and as a result we continue to see more certification and educational programs springing up, as well as tools designed to better equip coaches for the client of the 21st century.

Co-Founder & CEO at Nudge

I read an article recently stating that 2015 was the year of the virtual health coach and it’s not difficult for one to see the validity of that statement.

How did we get here?

According to the AAFP, the US is currently experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians, with estimates of the shortage reaching roughly 46,000-90,000 by 2025.

It’s not hard to see that we have a significant bottleneck on our hands and that the current crop of physicians are going to require a serious support network to address population health.

What are our options?

There are two clear ways to alleviate the stresses of this shortage:

  1. Increase the number of professionals focused on population health.

  2. Introduce better tools allowing the current professionals to manage more patients/clients.

Programs like WellCoaches and Dr. Sears Wellness Institute are two of the most established educational programs when it comes to producing qualified health coaches, but there are countless others in the industry as well.

Across the top tier programs alone, thousands of coaches are being introduced in the market each year hungry to make an impact, but until recently the search for tools has yielded little results.

Better Tools Are Still a Work-In-Progress

As the health coaching market has matured over the past couple years we have finally begun witnessing new technologies emerge to better equip these coaches - this REALLY needed to happen.

We speak with plenty of coaches who are simply using spreadsheets and email to manage clients, when professionals across other industries have the luxury of using productivity enhancing tools, such as Hubspot and Salesforce, which provide automation and streamline workflow.

So what is a coach to do?

Coaches have had to be resourceful and piece together that helped supplement their time with clients:

  • following clients on social media.

  • friending clients on their respective health tracking apps.

  • texting and emailing clients accordingly.

  • chasing clients down to collect payments with Square.

Health coaching is quickly becoming a critical piece in consumer lifestyle, but it is only through leveraging the appropriate technologies that we can ensure that coaches have a solid foundation to appropriately reach clients and direct them down a path of achieving positive outcomes.

With this in mind, we’ve gone ahead and pieced together some of the tools coaches have mentioned into a single doc to help make the process of selecting the right software a little easier.