Does health coaching change patients' trust in their primary care provider?

Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Jul;96(1):135-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.03.018. Epub 2014 Apr 2.


Objective: To assess the impact of health coaching on patients' in their primary care provider.

Methods: Randomized controlled trial comparing health coaching with usual care.

Participants: Low-income English or Spanish speaking patients age 18-75 with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, hypertension and/or hyperlipidemia.

Main outcome measure: Patient trust in their primary care provider measured by the 11-item Trust in Physician Scale, converted to a 0-100 scale.

Analysis: Linear mixed modeling.

Results: A total of 441 patients were randomized to receive 12 months of health coaching (n=224) vs. usual care (n=217). At baseline, the two groups were similar to those in the usual care group with respect to demographic characteristics and levels of trust in their provider. After 12 months, the mean trust level had increased more in patients receiving health coaching (3.9 vs. 1.5, p=0.47), this difference remained significant after adjustment for number of visits to primary care providers (adjusted p=.03).

Conclusions: Health coaching appears to increase patients trust in their primary care providers.

Practice implications: Primary care providers should consider adding health coaches to their team as a way to enhance their relationship with their patients.

Keywords: Health coaching; Patient trust; Patient–physician relationship; Self-management support.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Directive Counseling*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / psychology
  • Hyperlipidemias / therapy*
  • Hypertension / psychology
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Poverty
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • San Francisco
  • Self Care / methods
  • Trust*
  • Young Adult


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A