Gee, this seems to make terrific sense. Doctors are not only incredibly busy, but they often fall into that category of people known as "fast talkers." Maybe it's because they have so much information crammed into their brains, that it simply overflows, rushing out in a torrent of nonstop explanations, instructions, and precautions.
Enter the team.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a team approach to caring for heart disease patients. The approach, known as case management, uses a team of healthcare providers to assist chronic heart patients, instead of relying solely on a physician. A typical team will include the physician, specially trained nurses, and dieticians.
The study followed patients for 17 months, during which they met regularly with team members. At each meeting the patient's goals and progress was assessed and a plan was developed for the coming weeks. The staff counseled patients on diets, exercise, and medication compliance; this freed the physicians to concentrate on areas that required their medical expertise.
The results are impressive. The patients reduced their risk of death by heart attack, or heart disease, over the next ten years by about 10%. And, they did it cost-effectively. The cost of the care provided was $1,250 per patient - a bargain, considering a hospital stay following a heart attack can easily cost over $40,000.
"Case management makes a lot of sense when it comes to chronic disease because you need to have constant contact with patients to pick up on any problems before they get worse," said lead author Randall Stafford, MD, PhD.
Ah, teamwork. Fast-talking doctors, skilled nurses, smart dieticians. Sounds like the perfect prescription to get you on the fast track to better health...To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To explore ways to eat a heart healthy diet, see this terrific site from Public Health Degree.