Have you wondered how has health coaching gained attention and recognition in the context of facilitating behavior modification and improving population health outcomes? Or what is the current value of the global health coaching market and how fast is it growing? In a candid conversation with Marina Borukhovich, CEO-Co-Founder & Eugene Borukhovich, COO-Co-Founder at YourCoach, the only operating system for behavior change, powered by Health Coaches, we dived deeper into health coaching revolution and the important role coaching plays in the healthcare spectrum, the company’s business model and their value proposition, as well as reimbursement challenges and trends that drive the market.
The global health coaching market is driven by increasing demand for preventative and holistic personalized approaches to healthcare. Digital health solutions have brought significant benefits to the industry, yet there is a growing recognition that technology alone is not sufficient to address all the complex challenges of healthcare. Today, there is an increased awareness of the importance of more personalized support in healthcare, and the potential value of combining technology with human expertise to achieve better health outcomes, especially in lifestyle-related illnesses.
By working collaboratively with healthcare providers, health coaches help bridge the gap between medical care and lifestyle factors, ensuring that patients receive comprehensive, integrated care that addresses all aspects of their health (diet, stress, sport, sleep, medication adherence, etc.).
At present, there are over 17,000 mobile apps on Android and iOS operating systems that claim to offer coaching globally. Over 70% of these solutions are available in the USA, Germany, UK & France markets. The US is by far the biggest and the most competitive market with 10,000 apps found there.
As the healthcare industry moves towards value-based care models that prioritize patient-centered care and outcomes (e.g. focus on preventing illnesses and keeping patients healthy), more digital health providers realize that the best approach depends on an individual’s specific needs, circumstances and sustainable lifestyle modifications.
For an increasing number of health insurance companies, value-based care means paying for healthcare services based on their value and effectiveness, rather than just the volume of services provided. Employers are also interested in digital health solutions that offer a range of coaching options to support their employees’ wellbeing. A solution / service that offers AI coaching and a human coaching can provide a more personalized, comprehensive, and engaging approach to employees’ health and wellness needs. Thus, some market players have entered into strategic partnerships to add human-centered services to complement their digital options. Twill is partnering with YourCoach to power up their live health coaching component; Kaia Health is partnering with Luna On-Demand Physical Therapy to offer in-person physical therapy appointments. According to R2G’s latest “Partnerships in Digital Health” whitepaper “Partnering is #1 choice to manage and grow digital health business.”
There is a growing body of research that supports the effectiveness of health coaching in a range of healthcare settings, including primary care, disease management programs, and workplace wellness programs. Then,
Why is health coaching not yet widely reimbursed by healthcare systems despite its potential value in treatment and prevention? How leveraging digital innovative solutions alongside coaching in the care pathway can positively impact population overall wellbeing? How big is the health coaching market? What are the key trends that drive health coaching market growth? How does YourCoach bring the power of health coaching to clients, patients and members?
To get answers to these questions and learn more about this fascinating space we talked to Marina Borukhovich, CEO-Co-Founder & Eugene Borukhovich, COO-Co-Founder at YourCoach, the only operating system for behavior change, powered by health coaches and the virtual home for all things health and wellness coaching.
Enjoy the interview!
Research2Guidance: Health coaching has been around for 20 years. Today, we’re witnessing a remarkable shift in the perception of this profession as more health coaches play an important role as part of care teams beyond the doctor’s office. Can you please introduce YourCoach?
Marina Borukhovich: I founded YourCoach after discovering health coaching through my battle with breast cancer. Although I’m grateful every day to the doctors who saved my life, health coaching helped me learn how to feel like myself again–to live life on my own, new terms. I realized that every person needs a health coach and founded YourCoach with the mission to deliver the power of health coaching to the global population by 2030.
We are just at the start of what we’re calling, the Health Coaching Revolution, a shift across industries where health coaches are increasingly being seen as a must-have, not a nice-to-have. To help further this shift, we built the only operating system for behavior change powered by health coaches, growing the number of practicing and validated coaches on the platform to 3,000+ and helping tens of thousands of health consumers. Through our growing roster of Industry Partnerships with companies across industries (including one of the world’s largest employers) we bring the power of health coaching to clients, patients and members.
Research2Guidance: How big is the health coaching market?
Eugene Borukhovich: Health coaching is a large and growing market. Market data estimates that in the US alone, about $9 billion will be spent on health coaching by 2025. Others estimate that the market could be worth $20 billion by 2027, so we’re seeing substantial and noteworthy growth in the immediate future.
At YourCoach, we recently released our 2023 Health Coaching Industry Report, which evaluates the current state of the industry and presents a compendium of research that supports the efficacy and impact of health and wellness coaching. Our team reviewed more than 500 scientific reports and interviewed more than 50 experts to capture not only the latest market developments, but also the rising integration of health coaching into digital and healthcare settings.
Research2Guidance: This integration is exciting. Although AI coaching offers support and scalability with measurable business results, with more clinical evidence showcasing the efficacy of health coaching as part of improving health behavior for people with chronic conditions, there has been an upsurge of interest in human health coaching. Do you think that there is a market understanding of the value coaching brings in the wellness and healthcare industry?
Eugene Borukhovich: For a number of years the digital health and healthcare industries were all about “How do we digitize experiences; How do we put technology first?” and there was absolutely a need, and still is a need, for technology advancements in self-paced digital tools and therapies. These advancements had huge impacts on improving access to high-quality care.
However, access isn’t the only problem—more and more consumers are looking for a more human experience. They’re seeking, what we call, the human eye along with AI.
Health coaches, specifically, are key players in between these two extremes, elevating any given technology product or service so that it maintains its humanness (all while improving its efficacy).
We believe in this right down to our logo 人, a Japanese symbol “Hito”, for person. We believe deeply in the importance of human connection, that every human needs someone to lean on. For many, health coaches are that someone.
Research2Guidance: The concept is powerful. What is your business and pricing model?
Marina Borukhovich: If you think about our business model, we are an atypical double-sided marketplace. In a typical double-sided marketplace, you need both sides, the demand and the supply growing at the same time. In our case, we focused on the supply side for the first 2.5 years, the amazing health coaches who bring our platform to life.
We are a virtual home for all things health and wellness coaching, which means we provide continued opportunities for health coaches to thrive long-term. We provide practicing and validated health coaches on our platform with opportunities to contract with us through our Industry Partnerships, reaching even more individuals than they could on their own.
While we do not publicly speak to pricing for our B2B customers, our platform pricing model for coaches is revolutionary. Unlike a typical platform, we’ve developed a points system for everything coaches do on the platform to gamify the process, offering coaches the opportunity to lower the cost of the platform to just $10 a month – the more they practice, the less they pay.
Research2Guidance: It is fantastic the way you nurture, engage with and care about your community, their triumphs and well-being. How do you ensure your commercial success?
Marina Borukhovich: Our go-to-market as a business is partnering with digital health companies and others across different chronic disease therapeutic areas.
We launched officially in Q4 of2022 with Twill (former Happify Health), which is shortening the gap between need and care by creating science-backed, digital-first tools/therapies that are as connected as the body and mind, and that individuals can use by themselves. We’re working with Twill to power up their live health coaching component (which is at present servicing one of the largest employers in the US market).
Twill’s users can access health coaches right within their tool, making for a seamless, uninterrupted process. From a technology perspective we offer APIs and widgets that can be embedded into any platform.
We are excited to publicly announce more of our Industry Partners very soon.
Research2Guidance: Today, how many coaches are using the platform? What therapeutic areas are covered?
Marina Borukhovich: There are over 3,000 coaches using our platform. More than 87% of this cohort is located in the US, where we’re focused, and 13% are based all over the world, with 3 to 5% in the UK alone.
At present, we track 16 categories, including diabetes, heart health, gut health, and women’s health. We are adding more and more as our community rapidly expands. At the root of it all, a great coach can guide anyone with any disease / condition through anything, because at the end of the day they’re focused on facilitating behavior change.
Research2Guidance: True. It does take empathy, listening and understanding to impact the much-needed lifestyle and behavior change. A lot of times the answers are within us, we just need the support, the tools and help to act. Do you think there is still a misconception of what a health coach is & the role he/she plays?
Eugene Borukhovich: Yes, there is. There are several misconceptions that are sadly very pervasive within health coaching and health coaching-adjacent industries.
First and foremost—the health coaching scope of practice is one of the most often misunderstood aspects of the profession. Health coaches do not prescribe anything. Instead, coaches are good at asking the right questions to extract client goals and co-craft sustainable habits to get them there.
We have many helpful resources on the health coaching scope of practice, including an entire podcast episode that’s quickly become one of our most-downloaded episodes in the series. We’re working hard to dispel many of these misconceptions while educating many industries on the science of health coaching.
Research2Guidance: Is health coaching reimbursed?
Eugene Borukhovich: Today, health and wellness coaching is not reimbursed. Notwithstanding, a big shout out to the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. Since 2012, they have defined the health coaching profession and driven accreditation (so far 113 schools are accredited in the US). In February, real-world data was submitted to the AMA and in May, a vote will take place.
There are 3 different test codes for health and wellness coaching, which are not reimbursable at the moment, and the goal is to get them to level 1 once AMA reviews and approves the proposal. Once approved, it will likely take another 12 to 24 months to deploy. We’re hopeful that we’ll have an update on this status very soon.
Research2Guidance: In your opinion, what are key trends that drive this market?
Eugene Borukhovich: The health coaching industry has expanded significantly in the past several years and by being at the forefront of the Health Coaching Revolution, our team has enabled and contributed to important dialogues and advancements within health coaching, digital health, and healthcare more broadly.
Some of the market trends and challenges, are two parts of the same coin:
On the trends side:
Research2Guidance: And what are the challenges that you experience as a business?
Marina Borukhovich: Every day, there are challenges that are just a part of #startuplife. There are “oh crap moments” and “aha moments” – we clear misconceptions about health coaching, the value that real health coaching provides, showcasing those clearly defined outcomes, etc. Healthcare costs are not sustainable and there is still a lot of work to be done to prove what we already know, that this new emerging workforce is already and will continue to improve patient outcomes.
However, since YourCoach has the largest body of validated and verified health coaches, we’re very comfortable with both the supply side and demand sides. We’re happy to have our Industry Partners on board who are seeing the value of health coaching with great early results showing the value of surrounding their digital tools and therapies with live health coaching.
Of course, as true entrepreneurs, we never feel things are progressing fast enough!
Research2Guidance: For the past three years, with your team, you’ve built this remarkable ecosystem and virtual home for health & wellness coaches, with your mission and work you’ve left your unique footprint in this space. What is ahead of you? What would you like to see at the end of 2023?
Eugene Borukhovich: I would start with the industry itself and then translate it into YourCoach.
It will be great to see health coaching acknowledged as a must-have, not a nice-to-have across the globe, especially within the healthcare ecosystem and digital health.
As a company, we want to be able to help as many individuals as possible, that’s our driving goal. Since we’re not a direct-to-consumer business, how we do that is looking across a broader spectrum of therapeutic areas. Through our Industry Partnerships, we’re seeing firsthand how a live health coaching component can be critical to ensuring digital health technologies are being implemented to their fullest scopes, and with the highest success rate, to bring positive population outcomes.
Research2Guidance: Marina & Eugene, thank you very much for this interesting and engaging conversation. We wish you and the entire YourCoach team to be healthy and have a very successful and colorful year.
Marina is a serial entrepreneur, cancer survivor, passionate health coach and transformative tech CEO who’s made it her mission to kickstart the Health Coaching Revolution and is joined by Eugene, a serial entrepreneur & venture builder who previously headed Bayer’s Digital Health unit, had two successful startup exits and was CIO International at Medco Health. Together they are building an operating system for behavior change powered by activating a novel workforce in health & care – Health & Wellness Coaches. Via their HIPAA-compliant platform, YourCoach identifies credentials, operates and scales an elastic supply of health coaches with over 3,000 coaches on the platform, embedding this service into upstream B2B clients using YourCoach proprietary tech (APIs/Widgets).
To learn more about YourCoach, please visit: https://yourcoach.health/