The World Health Organization states cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2019, around 32% of worldwide deaths were attributed to cardiovascular disease. That is a stunning statistic, especially since most of these deaths were preventable. If those people had access to better-quality primary care, their cardiovascular problems could have gotten avoided.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has studied the common characteristics and contributing factors of cardiovascular disease in the United States. What they ultimately discovered was that the following factors contributed to cardiovascular disease the most:
- Obesity is one of the leading causes of heart disease because it creates high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Old age is commonly associated with heart disease because more older people develop it.
- Diabetes may speed up the formation of stroke, artery disease, or heart failure.
- High blood pressure and hypertension can discretely cause heart disease to form in a person.
- Bad genetics from your family may increase your risk of heart disease.
- Smoking can cause heart disease as well as other health problems, such as lung cancer.
If you see a primary care doctor regularly, they can give you periodic health exams and tests to look for signs of heart disease or related conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Once the risk factors are recognized, the primary care doctor can recommend ways to reduce and eliminate these factors to the patient.
Preventative care is always the best way to address cardiovascular disease. If you can prevent a patient from developing acute cardiovascular episodes that require immediate medical attention, it will improve their overall heart health.
Quality Primary Care is the Solution
Primary care physicians are not cardiologists. But they are the first doctors to examine patients before referring them to cardiologists for specialized treatment.
However, a quality primary care doctor should help reduce their patient’s risk factors to prevent them from developing acute cardiovascular episodes. After all, it is better if the patient doesn’t wait until they develop acute episodes before going to a cardiologist. Otherwise, it only takes one acute cardiovascular episode for permanent heart damage to occur.
Under the fee-for-service care model, primary care doctors do very little to reduce the risk factors of heart disease in their patients. The doctors will perform a physical examination and listen to their patients talk about their symptoms. After that, the doctors might write them a prescription for blood pressure medication or something else that doesn’t address the underlying problem.
Fee-based primary care doctors won’t always refer patients to cardiologists until they’ve actually experienced an acute episode. And since primary care doctors don’t spend much time with patients to learn more about their risk factors, they don’t do much to help prevent the underlying heart problems from worsening. This puts at-risk patients on a path to heart disease and other related heart problems.
The Value-Based Care Model
The value-based care model is the best alternative to addressing this problem in the American healthcare industry. The value-based care model uses transformative primary care to focus on the patient’s needs and put them above everything else. Primary care doctors spend more time with patients to understand their cardiovascular disease risk factors and develop custom solutions to reduce and eliminate them.
Primary Medical Care Center is already operating under a value-based care model. Many of the at-risk patients who come to our facility show significant improvement within months of their first visit with our primary care doctors. This is because our doctors take the time to have long conversations with our patients about their daily lifestyle habits, including eating and exercise habits. We want to understand all their risk factors in order to provide adequate treatment and advice for addressing them.
If you want to run a successful transformative primary care practice under the value-based model, you need to build trust with your patients. In addition to conducting longer sessions with your patients, allow them to call your facility and ask questions over the phone. Make them feel like you actually care about their problems and wish to address their heart disease risk factors directly. The more they trust your doctors, the more they will listen to their advice on reducing the risk factors.
Think about employing your own staff of in-house cardiologists and cardiovascular specialists. For example, we don’t need to refer patients to third-party cardiologists at the Primary Medical Care Center because we have cardiologists working at our facility. This makes it easier to treat patients who require advanced cardiovascular treatment because they can go from the primary doctor’s office to the cardiologist’s office within the same building. And since they already trust our staff, they also trust the advice of our cardiologists too.
Contact Primary Medical Care Center at (305) 751-1500 to learn more about how quality primary care under the value-based model is the key to improving your patients’ cardiovascular health.