Physical activity (PA) is a powerful intervention for health conditions that needs to be properly administered by qualified professionals trained to serve a continuum of patient needs. Exercise professionals play an integral role in educating patients about the benefits of becoming more active and engage them in appropriate programs for their health condition. However, expanding the role of the exercise professional to include working with patients from health systems requires a paradigm shift in which exercise professionals become accepted as an essential extension of the healthcare “team” working hand-in-hand with the clinical care team. In this role, exercise professionals help form a bridge between the healthcare system and community resources.
As part of this paradigm shift, exercise professionals need to learn new skill sets to successfully integrate themselves as part of the healthcare team. Exercise professionals need additional training to become skilled in working with a variety of patient populations that have been stratified by the health system based on their health condition(s), level of risk, and motivational readiness. As part of this process, exercise professionals must have the skills to:
- Receive and understand referrals from healthcare providers
- Develop and implement physical activity or exercise programs for individuals with a variety of acute and chronic disease conditions
- Implement behavior change and motivational strategies to increase physical activity adherence
- Effectively communicate information on patient engagement and progress in the physical activity programs back to the healthcare team
To assist in this transformation, the EIM Credential was developed to prepare exercise professionals to successfully integrate themselves as a part of healthcare teams, work within an EIM Network of programs and professionals, and receive patient referrals from healthcare providers.
To learn more about the EIM Credential, please click here.