Health care costs continue to increase. I do not know of anyone who does not complain about escalating costs and health insurance reimbursement. It is a concern of health care providers and health systems. Insurers too are looking for ways to reduce the healthcare expense. The movement is towards to finding new ways to help patients make better choices.
Two chronic diseases are responsible for a phenomenal 75% of United States healthcare spending. 2011 statistics reveal that over $55 billion was spent on diabetes and over $116 billion on heart disease. These costs include prescription medications, hospital visits, clinic visits, and other related medical interventions. Medical science knows that genetics plays a role in one’s health, however too much salt in the diet, a lack of exercise, too high of a caloric intake, and too much salt are major factors in yielding poor health which in turn spurs a rising cost in care.
The focus for attempts at lowering healthcare costs is one of prevention. What is the patient doing that caused them to come to the Emergency Department? Findings show patients continue to make the wrong choices when it comes to diet, exercise and taking their medication. Then too, for many patients it is a matter of cost. Choosing fresh fruit and vegetables that are perishable becomes too expensive when compared to a packaged high salt choice.
What are some strategies that are being considered to help patients make better choices? Virtually all healthcare professionals are becoming involved in assisting patients in making better choices. The four latest strategies are:
- Providing home health care education and support that includes diet, exercise, and medication.
- Using behavior research as a motivator to accomplish goals, such as a chance to win a cash reward only if they have met a goal of losing a prescribed amount of weight.
- Determining patient’s knowledge and ability to manage their chronic disease by surveying the patient. Then educate and offer medical services based on the survey results.’
- Financial incentives as losses where employees have a reduced paycheck for not completing healthy choices or taking health surveys.
So it simply comes down to preventative medicine. Let us all take care of our bodies by eating right and exercising. Doing that, will greatly improve one’s health and a greatly enhanced and enjoyable lifestyle.