Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The thought of changing one’s behavior is often daunting.  When discussing lifestyle changes, many patients often find themselves reluctant to adjust their well-established, albeit unhealthy, habits.  Despite healthcare providers’ best intentions, if a patient is not ready for lifestyle change, they will not own it, regardless of how necessary or urgent the change is.  Rather than force change on individuals, CVIM licensed clinicians recently attended a conference on motivational interviewing, a technique used more and more frequently in healthcare to prepare people for change.  The goal is to use motivational interviewing moving forward in helping CVIM patients with chronic diseases modify their unhealthy habits for the better.

The goal of motivational interviewing is to encourage a shift in patient behavior.  It is a directive, patient-centered approach for eliciting behavior change by helping the patient to explore and resolve ambivalence.  This is a strengths-based approach, and the patient must be at least interested in change for the technique to be successful.  Motivational interviewing has been used in substance abuse treatment for some time, and recently it has started being used for healthcare as well.  In fact, success in motivational interviewing in healthcare across the nation is great, especially with behavior issues relating to diabetes, exercise, and nutrition.

The focus on motivational interviewing comes after the introduction of CVIM’s new Chronic Disease Management model, which will give patients with chronic disease the opportunity to work with a team of healthcare professionals on their way to healthier living.  Considering that 51% of CVIM patients suffer from chronic diseases, the impact of these new techniques and methods for treatment should be felt clinic-wide.