• Ariel Chen

Lifestyle Medicine: Adding a Digital Coach to Improve Well-being

Core to the principles of lifestyle medicine is, as the Baylor School of Medicine pointed out, sleep, stress management, physical activity, relationships, and nutrition. For these ends, digital health, such as smartwatches and Fitbit, already offers solutions adapted to monitor relevant parameters as preventive measures.

In previous blogs, we talked about management for common chronic diseases, such as diabetes, as a mainstream of lifestyle medicine. Now, I want to share the importance of having digital coaches. The idea is that the health coaches help patients to stay compliant in their care and accountable for their health.

Let’s take a look at the benefit of digital coaching. Findings from the study suggest that symptom relief is associated with both improvements in healthy lifestyle behaviors and stress reduction. Digital remote patient coaching can support better clinical outcomes, patient experience, and healthcare utilization. In turn, clinicians can overcome barriers such as time, cost, and patient non-adherence to recommended care.

With digital and electronic healthcare options abounding, it’s no wonder that digital coaches also have a stronghold in the rheumatoid arthritis patient space. Now, online health coaches are everywhere — and some of them are dedicated specifically to helping people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) live better. The coaches may also help encourage and motivate patients when it comes to lifestyle changes, offering diet and exercise advice as well as keeping track of symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis patients should remain under the care of a rheumatologist and primary care physician, but adding a digital health coach or RA app to a self-care tool kit can be helpful for disease management. While there are smartphone and computer apps to help patients with RA cope — and even keep track of symptoms, doctor appointments, and medications — the addition of a health coach may be beneficial since it provides more personalized one-on-one attention.