What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

This time of year many people are thinking about making resolutions to institute some kind of change. Losing weight, staying fit and healthy, and quitting smoking are in the top 10 resolutions for 2014. Personally, I have given up the idea of making resolutions as I have never been good at sticking with them. I don’t feel alone once March hits and the gym isn’t as crowded as it was during the first few months. Even if you have made resolutions or not, each year will come with some kind of change. With the changes in ObamaCare and programs like patient centered medical home (PCMH), healthcare prevention will be the goals for providers and their patients. Will it be yours?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, will allow for more insured Americans. With more people seeking care, a shortage of primary care providers, and increased GDP spending on healthcare, it is important for healthcare organizations to focus on decreasing costs. Ways this can be accomplished is by focusing efforts on prevention of chronic diseases, providing more efficient care, and decreasing urgent care visits and hospital readmissions. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

If you are one of the patients that waits to go to the doctor until you are sick, consider getting ahead of your health by visiting the doctor to complete the recommended health maintenance tasks – cholesterol screening, weight/BMI check, etc. These annual wellness visits may prevent the development of costly chronic diseases down the road.

When you arrive at your doctor’s office, you may see that they too have undergone significant change. They have probably migrated from using paper charts and are using an electronic health record (EHR). One of the other changes that you may notice is the transformation from a physician centric model to a patient centered model. Your health care provider may be working toward being a patient centered medical home.

“The team aspect allows providers to be experts in their care as they will be able to focus on their specialty” is one of the benefits of medical homes as stated in an article by EHR systems reviewer Software Advice – “Should You Transform Your Practice Into a Patient-Centered Medical Home?” By allowing providers to concentrate within their expertise, will improve the quality of care provided to our patients that will increase the health of our nation that will reduce per capital costs of care.

In order for your practice to be PCMH certified, it must meet certain guidelines that have been determined by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA). This certification process will probably bring optimization to your practice and EHR to support the transition from a provider centric model to a patient centered model that focuses on teamwork and stresses the importance of healthcare prevention.

Whether or not you formally create New Year’s resolutions, it is a good idea to change your mindset around healthcare. Look at being “healthy” as being preventive with your health – schedule a visit with your PCP, stop smoking, exercise more, and eat less junk. Stop looking at healthcare as only being important when you are sick. Get ahead of the game and try to prevent the development of chronic diseases and live a healthy lifestyle.


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