Chronic Condition Management, Health Systems, Personal Health Technology, Researchers | By | 06/26/18 | 2 Minute Read

How Digital Health Coaching Can Help Ease Symptoms of Chronic Conditions

From virtual doctor visits, to in-app messaging with hospital administrators and more, there’s no doubt technology has paved the way for additional avenues of communication for patients and their healthcare providers.

One growing opportunity is in online or digital health coaching. And there’s early support for its efficacy in managing certain conditions, particularly ones that require lifestyle interventions.

Because digital health coaching enables personalized care and one-on-one communication between a patient and a care provider, it is uniquely positioned to help improve the lives of people who are making lifestyle changes and may need ongoing guidance or motivation to sustain these changes.

In some recent studies, digital health coaching yielded meaningful results in people living with type 2 diabetes and in those with rheumatoid arthritis. Overall, participants in these studies showed a stronger adherence to lifestyle changes associated with their conditions.

In the study of 756 people with type 2 diabetes, participants lost weight and lowered their A1C levels over the course of one year. After the 12-month period, average weight loss was 4.5lb and average A1C reduction was .92%.

In the 12-week study of 127 people with rheumatoid arthritis who received digital health coaching, researchers saw that participants lost weight, increased their physical activity, increased their amount of sleep, and decreased alcohol and tobacco consumption. In fact, flare frequency of their rheumatoid arthritis decreased by nearly half.

Although further research is still needed, all this suggests that health coaching could help people improve healthy behaviors and could help decrease adverse symptoms in certain conditions.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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To learn more about digital health coaching, read our report, Healthcare coaching: multiplying the value of wearables and patient-generated health data.

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