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Clinical Personal Trainers?

Denise Campbell

The Next Upcoming Profession that Patients Will Meet in their Doctor’s Office

Just as the physician assistant profession was created to improve and expand healthcare, Denise Campbell, Founder and CEO of Integrated Health Partners Network, believes that clinical personal trainers will be a common practitioner in traditional healthcare settings.

“Lifestyle is no longer an alternative,” says Campbell. “It’s clear from long-term research that our lifestyle choices have a direct impact on our health outcomes. The healthcare industry knows this and yet, pressure is placed on patients to make lifestyle changes with little or no support.”

Typically, doctors broach their patients with the topic of weight loss, nutrition or exercise with a trivial recommendation then ask them to return in two-to-three months to review their progress.  “And, here is where the problem begins,” Campbell adds.  “Most often than not, the patient doesn’t follow through and the doctor is left with little to offer.”   

iHealth Partners Network was created to bridge this gap between traditional medicine physicians and lifestyle change practitioners who consist of personal trainers, nutritionist, yoga instructors, health coaches and even psychotherapist and massage therapist. The vision is to see lifestyle practitioners from all modalities working side-by-side with primary care providers and even hospitals.  “Just as vital signs are taken by the nurse for your blood pressure, weight, and temperature, I can see vital signs taken for your physical activity, nutrition, and emotional health levels as well,” states Campbell.

Although there are some partnerships between lifestyle practitioners and primary care physicians, the healthcare industry is slow or reluctant to include lifestyle change professionals for several reasons. One major concern is around the credentialing or qualifications of lifestyle providers.  “There is such a variety of certifications for personal trainers that there is very little standardization of which is a critical and standard practice in healthcare,” says Campbell.  In addition, physicians are concerned that if they refer their patients to a lifestyle practitioner, they will be left out of the process and lose track of their patients or worse, their patients will never come back.

This is where iHealth Partners Network comes in and connects credentialed lifestyle practitioners, physicians, and patients.  Primary care physicians can easily refer their patients to a network of vetted lifestyle practitioners who are not only qualified to work with their patients but also have the tools and a platform to work directly with the referring doctor.  Primary care physicians can make recommendations, supply screening and documentation that ultimately helps their quality measures such as meaningful use and HEDIS/STARS scores.  Physicians are also simultaneously directly connected with their patient through the patient app that integrates with wireless and wearable devices through a care plan that is personalized to the needs of their patients and can be easily integrated into the patient’s electronic health record, no matter the service or payer. 

With the current uncertainty of the U.S. health care system, there is one thing that is certain; consumers, burdened with higher deductibles and lowered access to care, are frustrated and looking towards alternatives to maintaining their health and wellness.  However, navigating through these alternatives has proven to be just as complex and confusing.  iHealth Partners Network, a Pittsburgh-based start-up says it can be the Amazon or Uber of lifestyle change and other chronic disease prevention programs.

“The health industry talks a great deal about patients taking personal responsibility for their health yet there is little collaboration or interoperability between devices and providers,” says Campbell. “Our health care ecosystem is flooded with groups working in silos,” she continued. “iHealth Partners Network allows these silos to maintain their individuality (brand) while participating in a collaborative environment where the patient has control over the kind of care that fits their lifestyle preferences.”

Whether it’s a reiki practitioner, personal trainer or psychotherapist, the iHealth Partners Network platform allows everyone to share care plans and collaborate with the patient and their primary care providers. 

iHealth Partners Network’s pitch is that physicians never lose track of their patients since they are the go-between for the growing number of organizations offering preventative lifestyle medicine and the millions of people who would benefit from doctors and wellness providers collaborating within the same systems. But, as Campbell adamantly states, “There are plenty of platforms out there and more IT health companies popping up every day. The secret sauce is not in the platform but ultimately in the partnerships, relationships, and collaborations of providers and vendors in our network.”

“You need to have a clear understanding of not just the ecosystem but also of what I call human systems that evolve around the human condition and individualized choice,” adds Campbell.

The company is just in the beginnings of contract talks with health plans and self-insured companies under a pay-for-performance model.  And is currently registering referring individual doctors who can prescribe various lifestyle change programs for their patients to a vetted network of community-based and digital lifestyle change providers.

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iHealth Partners Network connects physicians, payers and patients with integrative lifestyle practitioners including personal trainers, nutritionist, massage therapists, health coaches, and other practitioners who focus on lifestyle changes within traditional clinical, health plan and corporate wellness settings. For the first time, iHealth Partners Network enables lifestyle practitioners and traditional health care providers to collaborate as partners in the care of chronic and preventative conditions.  Now, when a doctor recommends weight loss, nutritional counseling or stress management, they can refer and maintain contact with their patients through our credentialed network of practitioners. Physicians never lose track of their patient’s progress as patients, physicians and integrative practitioners have 24/7 access to their care plans through our platform and patient app.  For more information, please visit: www.ihpn.online – “Lifestyle: The Best Medicine for Life.”©

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