Health Promotion Practice Publishes Envolve Center Research on Health Coaching-Related Terms and Associations

Date: 08/09/18

The results of research conducted by the Envolve Center for Health Behavior ChangeTM in partnership with two Centene Corporation health plans is being published by Health Promotion Practice, a peer-reviewed journal for public health professionals and those who study public health concerns. An online version of the article, “Perceptions of Health Coaching for Behavior Change Among Medicaid and Commercially-Insured Adults,” is now available. The research examines member preferences in terminology for health coaches with the goal of better engaging members in health coaching programs.

“Health coaching is a popular intervention approach for changing lifestyle behaviors and managing chronic disease,” says lead author Amy McQueen, associate professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. “With the current emphasis on providing good programs that attract and retain members, new knowledge is of interest to those who design coaching programs as well as those who implement them.”

The research team conducted in-person interviews with 50 adults: 25 with commercial insurance and 25 members of Home State Health and Louisiana Healthcare Connections, Centene-managed Medicaid programs whose members agreed to take part. Findings indicate that different labels for a health coach affect member expectations, and that while some perceptions were universal across all those interviewed, others varied in meaningful ways between Medicaid and commercially-insured participants.

The study found that although most participants liked the term “coach,” those with Medicaid insurance were less likely to prefer it, possibly due to greater associations with sports and a view that the term seemed less professional than “specialist” or “advisor,” which they preferred. These terms were also well liked by commercially-insured participants. Regardless of insurance type, all saw value in having a health coach – by any name – as long as the coach developed a good relationship and was an expert in his or her field.

“The beauty of this research was the ability to go directly to the audience and ask what they think,” notes McQueen. “We sometimes forget to check in with our audience when creating programs, and lose sight of the actual impact.”

McQueen’s team is putting the final touches on a second research paper based on the results of the same round of interviews. The second paper delves into health coaching preferences – what people want from the coaching experience and how they would like it delivered.

The online version of the article entitled “Perceptions of Health Coaching for Behavior Change Among Medicaid and Commercially-Insured Adults” can be accessed here.

About the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change™

The Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change™ is a community-corporate-academic healthcare partnership that advances life-centric health research to improve lives so that communities can thrive. For more information regarding the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change, visit

About Envolve, Inc.®

Envolve, Inc.® is a family of health solutions, working together to make healthcare simpler, more effective and more accessible for everyone. As an agent for change in healthcare, Envolve is committed to transforming the health of the community, one person at a time. Envolve unifies specialty pharmacyPBMvisiondental24/7 nurse advice servicesdiabetes managementMSO solutions, and more. For more information, please visit our website or contact us at