Patient Engagement

Care Innovations takes on behavior change as it tackles chronic diseases

“We’re trying to turn the key in the brain that changes motivations,” said Maureen Glynn, senior director of research and compliance for Care Innovations.

Excerpt from Care Innovations behavior training course

Excerpt from Care Innovations behavior training course

Care Innovations, Intel’s telehealth and remote home-care subsidiary, is turning to continuing education in an effort to teach clinicians to support behavior change. The theory is that only radical shifts in patient behavior can truly make a dent in America’s epidemic of chronic diseases.

Admittedly, it won’t be easy.

In announcing that its six-month-old training program has just been accredited for nurses to receive credit for continuing education, Care Innovations cited data from McKinsey & Co. A 2012 report from that consulting firm said that 69 percent of total U.S. healthcare costs are tightly linked to consumer behavior and that 31 percent of spending was directly attributable to chronic conditions influenced by behaviors.

“People tend to comply during the 60-90 days they’re on monitoring [technology], then many of them tend to slip back,” Maureen Glynn, senior director of research and compliance for Roseville, California-based Care Innovations, said.

Glynn, a practicing behavioral therapist who is working on a Ph.D. in psychology, believes that many people who have chronic conditions failed at behavior change. On the provider side, she reported seeing struggles to enroll people in disease management programs.

That’s where the behavior-centric education program comes in. “We’re trying to turn the key in the brain that changes motivations,” Glynn explained. “We want to change problem-solving skills as well.”

The ultimate goal is to reach patients, but, given that it’s continuing nursing education, nurses are the primary audience. In Glynn’s eyes, they need to learn behavior change as well.

“Nurses are trained to be directive and authoritative,” Glynn noted. When trying to get a patient to shed unhealthy habits, that may not be the best way to go.

“We have brilliant nurses with great clinical skills, but they have the wrong set of skills to coach behavioral changes.” Glynn said.

With this in mind, the Care Innovations program is intended to be the “last mile” of remote patient monitoring, according to Glynn. “It’s the last mile of healthcare in some ways.

Care Innovations has designed the course to teach nurses how to ask open-ended questions, offer affirming words, become “reflective” listeners and come up with summary statements for patients. Nurses also will learn to deal with the most common challenges health coaches face, namely avoidance, ambivalence, resistance and compliance, the company said.

Glynn hopes the new CE accreditation is the motivation nurses need to take this course.

Image: Care Innovations