Efficacy of Health Coaching and an Electronic Health Management Program: Randomized Controlled Trial



For chronic disease management, self-management strategies are essential to achieve sustained improvement.


Our study evaluated the efficacy of health coaching and a self-management strategy–based electronic program on self-management strategies for patients with osteoporosis, chronic respiratory disease, or arthritis.


Three-arm randomized controlled trial, pilot study


Fifty-four participants


The first intervention group (n = 53) received a self-management strategy–based electronic program and 12 weeks of health coaching (20 sessions). The second intervention group received the information and communications technology (ICT) program; the control group received usual care and an educational booklet about self-management of chronic diseases.

Main Measures

The primary outcome was the difference in the change of the mean of self-management strategy scores. Secondary outcomes included depression (PHQ-9), physical activity (Godin Leisure Exercise Questionnaire), and health habit maintenance (transtheoretical model) after 12 weeks in the program.

Key Results

The combination of health coaching and ICT was superior to control group (change 18.5 vs. − 2.6, adjusted difference = 24.5, p < 0.001); however, the ICT alone group was not superior to the control group (change 8.0 vs. − 2.6, adjusted difference = 8.0, p = 0.156). As a result of evaluating the change in the percentage of people with positive stage changes in the transtheoretical model of health habits, regular exercise (p = 0.008), a balanced diet (p = 0.005), helping others (p = 0.001), and living with loved ones (p = 0.038) showed significant differences. There was no significant difference in the changes in percentage of patients with depressive symptoms in comparison with control group; however, there was in comparison with control group among groups (p = 0.033). Compared to the control group, the proportion of patients who achieved an exercise amount of 12.5 MET or higher was significantly higher (p = 0.028) in the health coaching and ICT group.


The combination of ICT + health coaching led to improvement in self-management as well as in increasing exercise, and several healthy behaviors.

Trial Registration


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This study was supported by the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute and by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number: HI16C0455).

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Correspondence to Young Ho Yun MD, PhD.

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Kang, E., Park, S.M., Lee, K. et al. Efficacy of Health Coaching and an Electronic Health Management Program: Randomized Controlled Trial. J GEN INTERN MED (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-021-06671-2

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  • health coaching
  • ICT program
  • chronic disease
  • self-management
  • strategy