The mobile Electronic Coaching Record (mECR)

The recent CMS decision to cover billing codes for health and wellness coaching will bring operational challenges to medical practices that bring on health coaches. Such coaches will be pressured to quit using their existing documentation tools, often spreadsheets, word processing apps and even paper notebooks. While simple tools have been cost-effective for many coaches in the past, meeting medical practice, legal and administrative standards will push coaches toward using the practice’s electronic medical record (EMR). 


Unfortunately, the patient-focused needs of health coaching center around helping patients stay on top of forming new habits, following progress towards goals, monitoring data from wearables, as well as connecting with community resources to increase the patient’s social support - functions that EMRs just don’t do. 


Enter the mobile Electronic Coaching Record, or mECR. As health coaches become part of the health care team, the mECR will become a crucial tool for patients to interact with their coaches and community-based support team. 


In 4 brief vlogs, I illustrate the advantages of an mECR over an EMR for health and wellness coaching. The first vlog starts here:



Bibliography for this Series


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Collier R. Electronic health records contributing to physician burnout. CMAJ. 2017 Nov 13;189(45):E1405-E1406. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-5522


David J. Meyers, PhD, MPH; Andrew M. Ryan, PhD; Amal N. Trivedi, MD, MPH. How Much of an “Advantage” Is Medicare Advantage? JAMA 2022;328(21):2112-2113. 


Langley GL, Moen R, Nolan KM, Nolan TW, Norman CL, Provost LP. The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance (2nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers; 2009.


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019. Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation's Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


Tufte E. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. 2001. Graphics Press, Cheshire, CT. ISBN 0961392142 (ISBN13: 9780961392147) 


Vaghefi I, Tulu B. The Continued Use of Mobile Health Apps: Insights From a Longitudinal Study. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2019;7(8):e12983) doi: 10.2196/12983 


Wadden TA, Berkowitz RI, Womble LG, Sarwer DB, Phelan S, Cato RK, Hesson LA, Osei SY, Kaplan R, Stunkard AJ. Randomized Trial of Lifestyle Modification and Pharmacotherapy for Obesity. N Engl J Med 2005; 353:2111-2120. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa050156