Physicians may not have enough time in their encounters with patients to work on behavior change training, but this role can be taken on by other health care professionals. Clinicians can flag the problem and send their patients elsewhere for treatment, notes Wendy Wood. Psychologists, for example, are well positioned to provide behavior change strategies. Another option is community-based group support, which David Kirchhoff says is both efficacious and cost effective. “The notion of partnership between the PCP and community-based model is an incredibly viable one that needs to be pushed a lot harder.”
Though it is hardly cost effective for a doctor to spend hours counseling patients about their health behavior when other can do the job equally well and at lower cost, the clinician does still play a critical role, says Patient Engagement Lead Advisor Kevin Volpp. Clinicians need to recognize that there’s a problem, determine how to initiate the appropriate treatment and by whom, and help the patient understand why it’s important that they prioritize this behavior change.
From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.