Thirty percent of adults across the United States said they still don't know what their insurance policy covers in terms of preventive care, according to a new Healthy World Report released by TeleVox Software, Inc., a provider of patient engagement communications (EC).
The report, Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention, provides a basic guide for patients as they begin or continue to practice a healthy lifestyle that will help to prevent illness and disease. The report also addresses how high-tech communications, when employed by physicians to personalize preventive care and treatment plans, can provide a more beneficial and thorough experience to patients. Finally, Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention uncovers the need for prevention awareness, specifically among mothers and aging adults.
Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention, elaborates on three suggestions that can help patients maintain their preventive care needs:
-Keep up with annual exams.
-Slow down and ask questions.
-Know what your insurance plan covers.
Regardless of gender or age, no patient can remain completely risk-free, but they can choose to make certain healthy habits part of their daily lives. Proactive choices to eat better, quit smoking, and floss daily can add up, increasing overall wellness and easing the aging process—all while lowering healthcare spending. Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention provides a brief guide for patients on how to make daily, healthy life choices.
Doctors are increasingly concerned with the time and money it takes to perform screenings and other preventive services required by incentive programs and new mandates set forth by the healthcare reform law. Some doctors debate whether there is enough capacity to treat sick patients and support healthy people in maintaining their well-being.
Healthcare providers need to be aware of the "one size fits all" approach: All persons of X gender, over or under the age of X, receive X. Some doctors may have the intention to tailor annual checkups to the needs of each individual patient but may lose sight of this individuality because of workload or other daily time constraints. Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention revealed that doctors who prioritize personalization provide a more thorough experience for their patients. Healthcare providers that currently embrace this type of treatment are leveraging the data in electronic health records to engage patients with supportive communications via email, text, voicemail and mobile applications. Through the convergence of mobile devices, online access and electronic patient data records, physicians can now communicate more efficiently and effectively between visits, allowing time spent during annual exams to be more productive.
Non-grandfathered insurance plans—plans that allow policy holders to take advantage of new benefits—were required to provide coverage at no cost in the insured's first plan year beginning on or after August 1, 2012. This coverage includes services such as well-woman visits, the screening of pregnant women for gestational diabetes, and breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. Still, some women don’t currently take advantage of these benefits, perhaps because they either hold a "grandfathered" status with their previous insurance plan policies, they're uninsured, or they don’t know which preventive care services exist or how to obtain them.
According to Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention, 80 percent of the mothers surveyed reported having health insurance, and 91 percent reported visiting a healthcare professional of some kind in the past two years. 32 percent of mothers still said they don't feel knowledgeable about what their health insurance policy covers for preventive care, and that 11 percent said they still had no idea what preventive care actually means. With 96 percent of healthcare consumer moms having said preventive care is important for their families, education about policy coverage, healthcare reform benefits, and clinic services must be addressed.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, 79 million U.S. residents were born between 1946 and 1964, a period commonly known as the "Baby Boom." The Pew Research Center Data Bank reported that today and every day for the next 16 years, ten thousand Baby Boomers—who make up 26 percent of our population—will turn 65. With this rapid rise in the senior population will come an increasing number of people who have chronic health issues or are at risk for disease.
As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, older adults gained new benefits, such as free, annual preventive care visits and early-detection services, including mammograms. Unfortunately, these services have been under-utilized: Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention found that only 32 percent of the aging population are receiving the preventive care measures that are recommended for them. And, although 95 percent of the Baby Boomer generation said they feel preventive care is important, 26 percent reported not feeling as knowledgeable as they could be about their health insurance policy’s coverage of such care. These Boomers lack knowledge and understanding of how to receive their benefits. Consequently, doctors, policy providers and the media must continue the effort to educate aging adults on their preventive care rights and the steps they can take to live a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis. Know Your Health: A Necessary Focus on Prevention offers an overview of certain health precautions aging adults should take, when to take them, and what the current statistics are for those who may not be receiving the preventive care they need.
No matter your age or gender, preventive action will not only improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but it will also improve quality of life and save lives. Patients want to be involved in their care but need the tools to stay educated, encouraged and motivated to follow through for their own health. Text messages, phone calls and emails from physicians get patients’ attention while providing this desired support and involvement.
Increasing patient communication efforts will require forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who understand that their continued involvement is critical to ensuring a healthy future for their patients. Many physicians understand that engaging patients between office visits can inspire them to embrace and build the habits to follow through with treatment plans. They know personalized, ongoing engagement can activate positive lifestyle changes that will help people lead healthy lives.