Are you one of the “non-compliant”, relatively healthy individuals? Guilty as charged! I have rescheduled my annual physical twice this year due to other commitments. Three strikes and I’m out; those PCP annual physical time slots my primary care physician are few and far between.
As the market manager for NextGen Healthcare’s Population Health solution, I’m feeling especially guilty. But something tells me I am not the only guilty party in the group. With the demands of everyday life today, between work, family, social obligations and everything else in between, it’s no wonder those of us who are relatively healthy can justify putting off our routine doctor’s appointments.
This article says it well: Slow Down: How Our Fast-Paced World Is Making Us Sick
“Constantly rushing to keep up as we inevitably fall further behind, we find ourselves destroying not only our own health, but our habitat and the habitat of the people, plants and animals with whom we share the planet.” Read this article: How Our Fast Paced World Is Making Us Sick
When it comes to your health, is it really worth the compromise?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- When’s the last time you had a preventative screening? When you were due?
- How many doctors’ appointments did you cancel this year because you were too busy?
- Do you always take your medications as prescribed?
- Do you always finish your prescriptions or do you stop taking medication when you start feeling better?
- Do you eat properly?
- Exercise regularly?
- Get enough sleep?
- Do you consume more alcohol than you should?
- Do you know how to relax?
When we talk about population health management, we typically do so in the context of chronic disease management. As the onus for managing the patient panel shifts to the health care provider, there is still another other half of the equation—the other side of patient engagement.
After all, it takes “two to tango.” NextGen Healthcare’s Population Health solution offers robust functionality, such as the ability to identify and target patients with prevalent chronic conditions, while integrating with NextGen Healthcare’s Ambulatory EHR and Practice management system.
However, it all starts with communicating regularly to ensure patients keep their appointments, are seen for follow-up care, are taking their prescriptions, and adhere to their providers’ advice. This is done through focused care management executed through automated patient outreach.
Outreach communication methods include:
- Phone & IVR
- NextGen Patient Portal
The overarching goals of population health include:
- To decrease episodic and infrequent visits
- To encourage and partner with patients to realize the role they play
- To reward behavior change and treatment compliance through nurturing
- To improve long-term health
What’s the point of this blog post? I guess if you are one of the fortunate individuals lucky enough to enjoy good health, you should thank your lucky stars, but also do your part to stay that way. Population Health applies to all of us, not just the chronically ill. Those of us working in healthcare need to practice what we preach. The next time you are due for a preventative screening, what are you going to do? In the infamous words of Woody Allen, ”Just show up.”