Many behaviors that are problematic but treatable are going unnoticed because of the infrequent use of health risk assessments (HRAs), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Designed to help primary care physicians (PCPs), nurses and other staff successfully select, adopt and implement health assessments, the AHRQ has released a new evidence-based guide, Health Assessments in Primary Care: A How-to Guide for Clinicians and Staff.
Employing the best current evidence for successful implementation of health assessments in the primary care setting, the guide includes tools to help clinicians decide which health assessments to use, how to integrate them into their daily workflow and how to maintain the process. The guide is designed for practices that use EHRs as well as those that use paper charts.
The HRAs are used to collect information to help primary care providers evaluate a patient’s health status and risks. Providers can identify potentially problematic but treatable health behaviors and factors such as anxiety, alcohol use, depression, unhealthy eating, and sedentary lifestyle; conditions that patients generally don’t bring up during a medical visit. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorizes Medicare coverage of annual wellness visits and specifies that a HRA be included as part of those visits.
The guide gives clinicians sample health assessment questions for seniors, adults, adolescents and children. It also provides a crosswalk of health assessments related to incentive and quality programs. Sample health assessment information for patients and a patient feedback survey are included. These tools represent findings from observations and interviews with primary care providers, staff and administrators.
More information on the guide is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/prevention-chronic-care/improve/system/health-assessments/index.html.
Source: AHRQ , November 21, 2013
2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health Risk Assessments analyzes the responses of more than 100 healthcare organizations to HIN’s October 2013 Industry Survey on Health Risk Assessments, and provides metrics and measures on current and planned HRA initiatives as well as lessons learned and results from successful health assessment programs.