Published: November 6, 2020
There has been a major shift in health coaching in the last couple of years. We’re seeing health coaching become mainstream, appearing in headlines in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and NPR. Coach training programs are growing all over the world, and coaching jobs are increasing much faster than average.
We know the future of health coaching is bright…so where should health coaches focus their attention for future hiring opportunities and job growth?
Where Health Coaches Are Finding Jobs Now
Major employers—including health insurance firms, private corporate businesses, wellness centers and weight loss companies—are seeking health coaches certified by approved training programs to add to their in-house staff.
Health coaches also seek out corporate wellness positions. These jobs include everything from working on a healthcare team with a labor union to in-house health coaching with manufacturing companies and self-insured businesses.
We’re also seeing an increase among those in medical fields becoming certified in health coaching. Healthcare professionals in nursing, dietary medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, and behavioral therapy are expanding the ways they support their patients by acquiring new diet and lifestyle change skill sets.
The options are as varied and diverse as the coaches themselves!
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Health Coaching
COVID-19 has already left its mark on the health coaching field. Studies are showing the pandemic’s significant impact on mental health, demonstrating that health coaches trained in positive psychology and Functional Medicine are needed now more than ever.
“Throughout the pandemic, people who never had the coronavirus have been reporting a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms: excruciating headaches, episodes of hair loss, upset stomach for weeks on end, sudden outbreaks of shingles and flare-ups of autoimmune disorders. The disparate symptoms, often in otherwise healthy individuals, have puzzled doctors and patients alike, sometimes resulting in a series of visits to specialists with few answers.” – National Public Radio (NPR)
Doctors are also realizing that health coaches can be the missing piece when it comes to delivering quality care for COVID-19 long-haul patients—those with symptoms that persist for months.
“One of the most frustrating experiences of long-haul patients is finding medical care: Doctors sometimes dismiss their symptoms or have no idea how to treat them. For doctors themselves who have long-term symptoms, the experience has been eye-opening.” – The Wall Street Journal
Health coaches can step in and bridge the communication gap between the practitioner and patient, offering support and education alongside the doctor’s plan of care, in order to create long-term change. This supportive relationship, facilitated by the health coach, can be a crucial element for those struggling with lingering symptoms.
The Future of Health Insurance Reimbursement
Dr. Cheng Ruan, Founder of the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine, shared during our Insights Into The Future of Health Coaching Symposium earlier in October that as the industry grows, the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are also evolving—driven in part by the rise of coaching as a mainstream component of quality, effective healthcare.
Health coaches are demonstrating their value in the healthcare system, helping to create a new type of work flow within the medical practice.
The data generated by the new coaching CPT code is essential, because Medicare and health insurers are now using it to look at evidence of effectiveness, improved outcomes, and potential financial savings to decide if it will be covered. As part of Category III code, most health coaches are not reimbursed through insurance right now. However, their recognition in the CPT code system can generate more data behind the value of health coaching, with the potential to move coaching towards Category I for reimbursement.
As evidence mounts, we anticipate that this data will continue to elevate the field, demonstrating the value of health coaching as an important and effective part of the healthcare system and driving even further growth of opportunities for the amazing coaches in our field.