20 Jun HOW THE “I FEEL FINE” SYNDROME IS COSTING YOU MILLIONS – PART 3
In the last blog we took an honest look at what is accomplished by closing our gaps in care for primary and secondary prevention. Primary prevention is defined as taking actions to prevent a disease from occurring. So identifying and addressing metabolic syndrome, the “pre-disease” for diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and certain cancers is an example of primary prevention. Secondary prevention is helping employees identify the problem after a disease has occurred, but before the person notices that anything is wrong. Early detection of cancer is a great example of this.
What both primary and secondary prevention highlight is that the person with the pre-disease has the “I Feel Fine” syndrome. Said another way, how do we get an employee who feels fine, who has gotten up and gone to work for decades, usually without having a health issue arise in their life, go through the trouble of:
- finding a good provider;
- setting up an appointment;
- going to the doctor’s appointment; and,
- making additional appointments for additional testing (mammograms, colonoscopies, and so forth), every year?
To realistically expect this to happen, efforts must be made to address the inertia that has kept them from doing this previously. This requires answering the following questions:
A) Why should I do this?
- What are the implications to my life for doing or not doing this?
- What are the implications to my job for doing or not doing this?
B) Who is best to go to?
- Should I go to a primary care doctor or specialist? What is the difference? Why is one better than the other?
- Are there differences between doctors? Who is the best?
- How do I know if they are good at addressing this problem and even if they are good overall?
C) How do I get this done?
- Is it as simple as making an appointment?
- Will they do the right test?
- If I have to communicate to my employer that I have taken these actions, how do I do this?
D) Where do I get this done?
- How are my choices impacted by my health insurance plan?
- Can I go close to home or work?
- Do different doctors cost different amounts?
E) Who can I ask to get answers to these questions?
- Do I call my human resource staff, the health plan, etc.?
- How do they get cost and quality information on doctors and tests?
- Who can I trust to get these answers?
While intuitive for most of us in the health care arena, these are often intimidating issues that must be overcome for employees before they act. While it may be as simple as saying “call your family doctor”:
- Over 40% of employees have not been to a primary care doctor at all in over 2 years; and,
- 40% have only seen them for acute illnesses and have no true continuity of care established for prevention or chronic issues.
That means that up to 80% of employees may not know where to go to get their physical and age and gender appropriate tests performed properly and at the best price.
What if there were a way to simplify this process and greatly improve the chance of the right tests being done at the right place, by the best medical provider, at the right cost virtually 100% of the time?
In the next blog we will examine specific strategies companies are incorporating to help overcome the “I Feel Fine” Syndrome.