Study Suggests Connection Between Healthcare Service Scope and Costs

American Board of Family Medicine pic
American Board of Family Medicine
Image: theabfm.org/about

A certified physician in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter has nearly 18 years of experience treating a variety of ailments in patients of all ages. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), which released the results of a new study on the correlation between comprehensive care and lower hospitalization numbers.

Despite comprehensive care being one of the five core virtues of primary care, its relationship with patient outcomes remains unclear. The study sought to shed light on the relationship by measuring the scope of care provided against healthcare costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Samples in the research pool consisted of approximately 31,000 direct patient care physicians from the American Medical Association Masterfile and oversampled physicians in smaller states to allow for more approximate state-level estimates.

According to the study results, family physicians who offered a broader range of services to patients reported lower costs and fewer patient hospitalizations. The study’s findings established a strong connection between comprehensive care and hospitalization numbers. Researchers determined comprehensive care to be an essential component of healthcare measures. However, it only included exploratory data and thus remained unable to provide a complete and full understanding of the correlation between comprehensiveness and hospitalization numbers. For instance, the study was unable to include the full spectrum of ailments, ages, and modalities encompassed by family medicine.

Researchers concluded that the study’s findings and limitations demonstrate the need for further exploration of the connection between comprehensiveness and care costs, quality, and access.

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Heart Health Tips for Older Adults

As a board-certified family physician practicing in the Henderson, Nevada, area, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter treats patients of all ages. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter draws on wide-ranging experience in treating and helping to prevent aging-related diseases.

Statistics show heart disease as the cause of death for 84 percent of individuals aged 65 and older. Heart disease risk increases as a patient ages, but there are actions one can take to reduce one’s risk. For example, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels make a patient more vulnerable to heart disease, so reducing these levels is key to mitigating risk. The same holds for patients with diabetes, whose proactive management of the condition makes them less at risk of heart attacks and other heart problems. Some patients require specialized medical interventions, such as angina treatment, depending on their medical histories.

Regardless of one’s individual medical risk, however, a number of lifestyle changes can make an older adult less likely to develop a heart condition. A diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat, but high in fruit and vegetable content, can improve heart health. Regular physical activity also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure while aiding individuals in maintaining the healthy weight that physicians recommend as critical for avoiding heart disease. Experts also advise patients to avoid smoking and minimize emotional stress, both of which can add to one’s risk of developing a heart condition.