Physician Practice Recognizes Importance of Lifestyle Factors

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

In the six years that I’ve been a patient at my OB/GYN practice, I’ve never been asked during a visit about any lifestyle conditions. Sure, I was giving a registration form to complete when I first joined the practice that asked some lifestyle questions, along with family history. But I’ve never updated this form and I’ve never been asked these types of questions again.

But at a recent annual visit, my doctor asked how often I exercise, how much fruit and vegetables I eat, if I’m still a non-smoker and if there are any high levels of stress in my life.

I’m happy to report that I get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, I eat more than my fair share of fruits and vegetables, I don’t smoke and while I have some levels of stress in my life – I find that exercising helps ease it away. But, this isn’t the good news – the good news is that this physician practice took the time out of a visit to ask these questions. They are putting the emphasis on making the right choices that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

In an audio conference we sponsored this past November, Primary Care Physicians in Disease Management: An “Old” New Model of Care, Dr. Maureen Mangotich, medical director, provider and community outreach, McKesson Health Solutions, relayed how important physicians are in their disease management programs, even when McKesson doesn’t contract with the physicians. Dr. Mangotich laid out a number of ways in which McKesson seeks to engage physicians to support their programs to ensure the success of their programs.

While physician support of healthy lifestyle choices and population health or disease management programs is not a panacea for people who choose unhealthy lifestyles, it can certainly add to the other efforts that the healthcare industry is taking to give consumers more responsibility for their health.

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