The Blueprint

Training health coaches: Inside Mercy Clinics' program

by Amanda Berra

Health coaching is, without question, a cornerstone of the medical home model. According to our data, about 50% of practices transitioning to the medical home model add new health coach staff, while other sites work with the existing team to expand emphasis on health coaching activities. Either way, ensuring right skill set is a major challenge: Many organizations have had difficulty filling the role with staff with all the clinical, organizational, and "people' skills required to deliver real results.

Thursday, Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. ET, we will present an Innovator Spotlight webconference profiling the robust health coach program at Mercy Clinics, Inc. (Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines, Des Moines, IA).

An early adopter of the medical home model, Mercy leaders have crafted and refined over the years a formal training and coaching program to up-skill clinical support staff into the health coach role.

Mercy Clinics began delivering this curriculum internally and now also present it externally to other organizations looking to emulate the Mercy medical home model. Mercy primary care practices have successfully incorporated high-performing health coaches, markedly improving patient health, raising practice productivity, and realizing nearly a 4:1 return on the health coach FTE investment.

Administrators from Mercy Clinics will join Advisory Board staff on the line to directly share their experiences with health coach training as well as take live audience Q&A.

Note: As always, participants in the Medical Home Project are welcome to participate in this webconference at no additional cost.

Separately, Mercy Clinics and the Advisory Board are working together to offer a first-ever training series for medical home health coaches, to begin in the fall -- details on that program will be given in the webconference, or e-mail my colleague Jordan English ( for more information.