What Do You Consider to Be the Top Medical Advances of the Past 20 Years?

Ryan Syrek, Editor


May 27, 2015

The rise of corporate healthcare: Although this is perhaps the greatest threat to proper primary care, it also holds the seeds of opportunity. Corporate healthcare, as driven by health plans and hospital systems, is too often concerned with making money over saving money, putting primary care at risk of being perceived as an upstream funnel that feeds referrals, procedures, and admissions downstream. Instead, primary care should be the principal site where health can be protected, disease prevented, and costs saved. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has introduced the IHI Triple Aim, which is broken down into care, heath, and cost. If armed with a proper understanding of the value of primary care to the Triple Aim, corporate healthcare can bring enormous resources to the transformation of primary healthcare and its integration into the rest of the system.

The incorporation of chronic disease management into primary care: This represents the transition from reactive, acute care medicine to proactive, early intervention. Chronic disease management accounts for 80% of the care given in the primary care setting, and this transition has thus rendered primary care much more effective.

The patient-centered medical home: This marks the move to comprehensive, coordinated care and acknowledges the need to manage patients with multiple comorbidities instead of futilely trying to manage one disease at a time.

The integration of behavioral healthcare into the patient-centered medical home: This represents the greatest step toward comprehensive, integrated care. Almost all medical problems encountered in the primary care setting have a psychosocial component, and it should be addressed concurrently, in an integrated, coherent fashion.

The emerging integration of community health resources into primary care: Primary care exists at the border between the healthcare system and the community. Most health is won or lost in the community, and connecting these two elements is an enormously difficult, but extremely important, proposition.

Top primary care advances selected by Frank Verloin deGruy III, MD, MSFM, Woodward-Chisholm Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.

For more on the rise of corporate healthcare, read here.


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