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Taking a Proactive Step Toward Disease Prevention

By Jennifer B. Buckley

Does your doctor take a proactive approach toward disease prevention or does he/she just wait for you or your care recipient to show symptoms of a possibly fatal disease? Disease prevention should be at the top of every health care professionals ballot to keep patients as healthy as possible and eliminate the time and hassle of frequent doctors visits, extended hospital stays and increased use of prescription medication. It seems logical that preventative measures through educating patients would be widely used within the health care industry but they haven’t been. The Health Management Institute (HMI), a collaborative effort of several managed care associates, is working to bring educational materials about disease prevention and management to health care professionals in order to eliminate the entire cost of treatment for patients before it begins.

The American Association of Integrated Healthcare Delivery Systems, American Association of Managed Care Nurses, American College of Managed Care Medicine, National Association of Managed Care Physicians, and Women in Managed Care comprise the diverse team of care professionals of the Health Management Institute. These united associations offer a plethora of experience in health management to develop resources, publications and innovative programs to educate the health care industry about preventing and managing diseases like diabetes and asthma. HMI houses a decision-making council comprised of one member of each association. 

HMI is looking to implement programs such as: phone consultations, Internet questions and answers, prescription hotlines and other methods to keep patients as healthy and happy as possible. The concept of preventative health management is sensible but difficult to initialize.

“We need to convince all sectors of the market, including consumers, to work toward a common goal,” says Laura Bousquet, HMI’s Director of Communication. No one will deny that the ideas of prevention, demand management and disease management would reduce costs and increase overall health and satisfaction. But how do we convince a physician that bearing the cost of hiring a nurse practitioner to handle phone consultations or installing a new computer system to correspond with patients via the Internet will save money in the long run?” 

Another challenge according to Laura is the commitment of the patient to follow the advice of their doctor and invest in vitamins, therapies and preventative management techniques that will keep them healthy. Currently, HMI is working on a survey to be distributed to health care professionals to examine their disease prevention and management practices in order to overcome these barriers.

Another project by HMI to educate the industry is the “Health Management Summit 2000: with Hyperlipidemia as a Model.” The summit is geared specifically toward health care professionals. It is a two-day conference on November 17th and 18th at the Sheraton National in Arlington, VA. The First day of the conference will be an overview of disease management and prevention and the second day will be a presentation on case management using Hyperlipidemia as a model. The information given to professionals that attend the conference will in turn teach them how to educate their patients.

HMI is the first association to take a proactive approach to keeping patients healthy. It is beneficial for patients to take an active role in disease prevention, so don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about how you or your care recipient can reduce your risk of developing a life threatening disease. If you would like more information about the Health Management Institute contact Michele Rodriguez at (804) 747-5823.

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