While Al Lewis has become the industry antagonist (in a good way), he makes a lot of great points that anyone working in the industry should understand and consider.
If you haven’t read some of Al’s articles, let me point you to a few:
His writing reminds me of some of the things my former boss pointed out several years ago about the disease management industry.
In one of his posts, he makes several points that I wanted to discuss here:
- You should use a source like the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) as the evidence-based reference for appropriate screenings – frequency, age, gender. Of course, I agree with this. We need some common source that we all can use that’s based on best practices and evidence.
- He argues that you should stop weighing people. I’d argue that knowing your numbers is important. As a country and a world, we’re seeing massive growth rates in obesity which is linked to numerous diseases. We need people to be more conscious of this risk factor especially in our sedentary work environments – see sitting disease infographic.
- His third point is about targeting and nudging the right population versus over-sampling everyone. I couldn’t agree more. This should be what the Big Data push in healthcare gets us. How to build predictive algorithms to identify people with multiple risk factors. How to identify people with gaps-in-care. How to figure out what someone needs to take an action. I always say there are 3 factors to consider:
- Is there value in the intervention?
- What channel / method is going to get the consumer’s attention?
- What information is going to get the consumer to take an action?
To follow-up on my points above, here’s some information on obesity and it’s link to other diseases.
- Coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Cancers, such as endometrial, breast, and colon cancer.
- High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides.
- Liver and gallbladder disease.
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems.
- Degeneration of cartilage and underlying bone within a joint (osteoarthritis).
- Reproductive health complications such as infertility.
- Mental health conditions.
And, for a fun video by Mayo Clinic on Knowing Your Numbers watch this: