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From A Man's Perspective

Cyndi Strayer | Dec 31, 2012, midnight

When asked about the future of health care, Mark Lodes, M.D., chief medical officer of Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Practice Group, said, “I think health care is increasingly moving toward providing better health care for the population. In the past, the focus was on disease care and treatment once the disease was identified. Now we are moving to a system of population health management. We are trying to decrease cost by keeping people healthier.”

Dr. Lodes went on to say that women in a family make most of the decisions when it comes to health care, such as what physicians to see, what clinic, etc. “And now, there are increasingly wider choices when it comes to health care, with a more robust care delivery.” He then went on to explain, “What I mean by that is before you had your primary care physician that took care of you with the help of his or her assisting staff. Most of your care was done at your annual office visit. In the future, regular office visits may become extinct, like the dinosaurs, if you will, as we move more toward monitoring a population of patients. This type of monitoring will identify when a patient would need her first mammogram or a male patient needs his first prostate exam. By monitoring overall health in this way the hope is to prevent diseases as well as identify any health issues early for early treatment.”

Those with chronic disease will also be better monitored. “For example,” Dr. Lodes said, “a person with diabetes may have to come into the doctor’s office every three months—but with better monitoring and new technology the patient’s diabetes can be monitored in real time, downloaded and sent to the doctor’s office. This would mean not having to come to the office at all.”

With more health managers, Dr. Lodes says that hopefully physicians won’t have so much disease to treat. “This individualized type of care is based on a medical home concept model.” A medical home is predicting, comprehensive monitoring and referral management outside of the office.

Care coordination is a key component in changing health care for the better. If all aspects of a patient’s care were integrated (the hospitals, clinics and physicians would work together and share information), health care would be simpler, more effective and would cost less. Therefore, in a patient-centered medical home, patients would benefit from not only having a long-term relationship with a personal primary care physician, they would also have a practiced-base care team to take collective responsibility for the patient’s ongoing care, including being responsible for providing or arranging all of a patient’s health care needs.

As Dr. Lodes said, “There are many varying factors of health, including stress.” When you look at stress and obesity being a factor, sometimes this can be connected to behavior health. “In this case, the patient may need an exercise regimen, medication or even a change in dietary habits to deal properly with his or her health.”

According to Dr. Lodes, when it comes to the future of health care, “There will be coaching and support within the clinics that will help bring health care into more of a home setting and in real-time. And the bottom line is it will make it more convenient for busy families.”

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