Monday, April 29, 2019

Community Health Workers Can Deliver Patient-Centered, Evidence-Based, Value-Based Services

Today, healthcare is striving to practice medicine that is patient-centered, evidence-based, and value-based. What this means is that the patient is to be viewed as the most important person in the room, the providers are to use evidence-base medicine, and the patient gets a lot for his or her money. And it has been shown that community health workers (CHWs) can play an important role in delivering services associated with patient-centered, evidence-based, value-based medicine. A set of these services is related to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Patient-centered means providing medical care “that is focused on the patient or consumer of health care rather than on health care providers, financiers, insurers, or institutions.” “Evidence based medicine (EBM) is the conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. EBM integrates clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information.” And value-based medicine is where “providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes.” One way of looking at value-based medicine is patient-outcomes divided by cost (patient-outcomes/cost).

According to the CDC, “a community health worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member or has a particularly good understanding of the community served.” CHWs may work as coaches in some community organizations. These organizations include YMCA’s, churches and other community groups that offer community services. One of the important services is the Diabetes Prevention Program or DPP.

The DPP is based on a study done between 1996 and 2001. In the study, it was concluded that type 2 diabetes can be avoided or delayed in an individual who follows a healthy diet, engages in purposeful physical activity, and changes his or her lifestyle to include healthy activities. After the completion of the study, it was determined that lifestyle CHWs working as coaches could successfully motivate individuals to engage in DPP related activities.

Furthermore, healthcare providers are encouraged to refer patients to DPP organizations that have satisfied DPP standards established by the CDC.


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