Seniors have unique health care needs. If you’re a senior on Medicare, you understand. Having accessible health care, a doctor you trust and the ability to make informed decisions is so important to your quality of life. With the aging population, the need for better senior health care is paramount. As a senior, how can you ensure better care and improved health outcomes? Let’s explore that question in the paragraphs that follow.
Being your own health care advocate is the best way to improve your own health outcomes. Advocating means taking an active role to speak up and partner in your health care experience. Let’s look at ways to improve the senior health care experience by being your own health care advocate.
1. Find the right primary care physician.
The first step toward better health outcomes can be establishing a primary care physician, who you see regularly. Having a primary care doctor gives you a point of contact for all your health care needs and someone who can be the foundation for helping you maintain your health and pointing you toward specialized care when needed. This is called care coordination, and it is one of the most important aspects of senior care.
If you find the right primary care doctor, you will feel comfortable speaking openly and communicating easily. Start by finding a primary care doctor who participates in value-based care.
What is value-based care?
2. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
Being your own health care means having important conversations with your primary care physician and other health care providers. It can feel intimidating to speak up. Perhaps you suffer from “white coat syndrome,” where you tense up in the doctor’s office. You are not alone in this reaction. Many people, not just seniors, neglect to speak openly to their physicians and ask questions. If this happens to you, jot your questions and concerns down and bring them with you to the appointment. When a patient and a physician have an open dialogue, health care results naturally improve. Your doctor needs to be informed of symptoms, any issues you have encountered and changes in your body or how it works.
When you select your primary care physician, make sure you have a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and who you can communicate with easily. Making a visit to a prospective doctor before you become a patient is a great way to find the right primary care physician for you. At NewPrimaryCare.com, we help you find primary care physicians, who specialize in value-based care for seniors, in your area. And we encourage you to schedule a visit to meet the doctor, see the office and find out what services are offered at that location.
3. Bring a family member or friend.
4. Choose senior-focused health care.
Seniors need specific care, because of age-related health care needs and complicated medication schedules. Having a doctor who specializes in their care can make a huge difference. Doctors who participate in value-based care are specifically focused on elderly health care, and their entire practice is geared toward meeting those needs. Many value-based care physicians offer blood draws and other testing right in their office, so you don’t have to travel to different locations for those services. They make patient education a priority, and ensure that you understand your health care needs, diagnosis and next steps.
Value-based care strongly emphasizes preventative care, so you can avoid health problems instead of just trying to solve them when they occur. This often results in better quality care and higher patient satisfaction. While doctors and health care providers who use the fee-for-service model are paid based on number of patients seen and procedures given, value-based care physicians are rewarded for patient outcomes.
Value-Based Care Focuses on Senior Health Care
If you’re a senior and you want senior-focused health care, finding a primary care physician who adheres to the value-based care model can be a game changer. Here are just some of the benefits of value-based care:
- Improved health outcomes. With the emphasis on prevention and patient education, value-based care prioritizes healthy lifestyles, regular exercise, screenings and vaccinations. Senior wellness is at the core value-based care.
- Wholistic patient-centered care. Value-based care physicians look at patients’ entire situation, not just one physical issue at a time. They take into account memory challenges, finances or social support. They look at all factors that influence the overall well-being of seniors.
- Affordable health care. Value-based care can save you money. With the emphasis on preventative care, you can reduce the need for procedures, medications and emergency room visits.
- Adherence to medication and care. Having a good doctor-patient relationship and open communication improves medical outcomes.
- Increased access to health care. Value-based care addresses needs such as language barriers, transportation and more.
- Enhanced care coordination. Value-based care primary care physicians build long-term relationships with their patients. They work with specialists to improve their patient’s condition. When health care workers collaborate, information is shared and outcomes improve.