The healthcare industry continues to evolve, with the ongoing march toward “value-based” care. And, in 2019, it seems the hot topic is “Total Consumer Health.” It’s not an entirely new concept, but the philosophy is now gaining momentum across all aspects of care delivery.
What is total consumer health, and why does it matter to your nursing or healthcare organization?
“Total Consumer Health” The best way to think of this term is as a holistic approach to healthcare that considers multiple factors beyond traditional doctors’ visits, treatments and medications. The idea is to improve patient well-being across all spectrums, including medical, social, financial and environmental.
Patient Well-Being Healthcare providers have traditionally viewed patient well-being simply through the lens of medical stats and diagnoses. But, the new approach considers other facets of life. For example, a patient may face greater risk of respiratory disease due to poor air quality. Or, perhaps a woman’s socio-economic status puts her at greater risk for cardiovascular disease due to an affordable but unhealthy diet.
The goal is for doctors and nurses to holistically assess patients’ well-being to help prevent and manage chronic diseases. Environmental and social risk factors may be mitigated or preempted through expanded lab tests and diagnostics. Or, blood pressure medications may be more liberally prescribed with a realization that dietary compliance is unrealistic.
Technology Holistic patient well-being is the goal of “Total Consumer Health” philosophy, but how is that achieved? Technology is a critical tool. Specifically, consumer/patient-driven technology is a major medium by which to achieve the objectives.
Affordable consumer-focused technology can improve health outcomes while lowering medical costs for patients. This is particularly true for those with high-deductible healthcare plans. For example, a man battling hypertension may invest $100 into a wearable device that passively monitors his blood pressure. This helps him manage his condition and can prevent a medical episode or hospitalization that would otherwise cost him thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.
Education Knowledgeable patients are generally healthier patients. A focus on “Total Consumer Health” emphasizes education to further peoples’ well-being. Health plans, clinics and physicians can “push-out” bits of valuable information via text message, email and phone apps. Reminders for flu vaccination are already commonplace, but there’s plenty of room for expanded education.
Opportunities for expanded education include meal-planning resources, reminders for blood glucose compliance and recommendations for blood pressure screening. They may also prompt patients to schedule annual physicals. Healthcare plans and providers that provide their own comprehensive phone apps will achieve the best patient compliance.
As the healthcare community continues to work toward value-based care, nursing facilities and individual medical practices must do their part to holistically treat patients. A “Total Consumer Health” focus helps to achieve this goal by considering all aspects of well-being. Medical facilities seeking qualified healthcare professionals in San Diego should also consider the assistance of a leading staffing agency, HireGround!