4 steps to meaningful preventive care

Although improving preventive care is a top priority for providers as part of the shift to value-based care, the initiative must incorporate four key strategies in order to be truly effective, according to a blog post at Hospitals & Health Networks.

One of the most important aspects of preventive care is the fact that every patient population--and every patient--is unique, writes California-based futurist Joe Flower. However, patients generally fall into four primary categories of risk:

  • Healthy patients who providers want to keep healthy 
  • Patients with as-yet unidentified ailments or risks
  • Patients with multiple risk factors or chronic conditions
  • Patients with major trauma or illnesses, such as cancer

To target each of these groups, a hospital's preventive care strategy must incorporate several strategies, including the following:

Promote health in the patient community: Providers, Flower writes, should engage the local community in managing their own health, through programs such as community gardens, traffic safety or intergenerational after-school study groups. The American Hospital Association (AHA) has long promoted such efforts and recently outlined strategies for hospitals to partner with community organizations to improve population health, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Take aim at high-risk demographics: Preventive care efforts should pay particular attention to vulnerable populations, writes Flower. For example, Kaiser Permanente, seeking to safeguard against heart disease, has used screening and management to target patients with asthma, obesity and other risk factors, reducing heart attacks by nearly a quarter and serious heart attacks by 68 percent, according to the article.

Address patients with multiple chronic conditions: Many of the top 5 percent of most expensive patients have multiple chronic illnesses, according to Flower, and providers must take the initiative to manage these cases. As healthcare transitions to value-based care, many providers have also moved away from an episode-by-episode strategy for such patients.

Provide patient screenings: The traditional population-wide screening model can result in overtesting and overtreatment, Flower writes, and providers must find screening strategies that reduce unnecessary care without increased risk to patients.

To learn more:
- read the article