As Americans’ waistlines continue to expand, TeleVox’s technology can help doctors encourage patients to embrace a preventive lifestyle and increase positive outcomes
- Cost-Conscious: 75 percent of U.S. adults agreed that out-of-pocket cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care, but the Affordable Care Act requires that most preventive care services be offered to patients at no cost.
- Skipping Important Screenings: Shockingly, among the Baby Boomer population, only 33 percent of women have had a mammogram, and only 24 percent of men have had a prostate exam in the last two years.
- A Problem: According to the CDC, 35 percent of both American men and women are considered obese. In the last decade, the percentage of obese American men has increased by almost 10 percent.
- Sweat it Out: Less than half of Americans (49 percent) said that they’ve exercised routinely in the last two years, and only 52 percent said they’ve attempted to improve their eating habits or incorporate more nutritious foods into meals.
Mobile, Ala., June 11, 2013 — 75 percent of U.S. adults said that out-of-pocket cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care, according to a new Healthy World Report released by Televox Software, entitled A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, mandates included in the legislation require health insurance policies to cover most preventive care services at no cost to those who are insured. This means that cost should no longer be a factor that discourages many people from seeking preventive care check-ups and screenings, and both doctors and health plans need to educate patients about the preventive benefits included in their policies.
A Call for Change highlights the fact that too many Americans are putting off preventive screenings and exams as well as failing to implement lifestyle changes that could help prevent serious health conditions and save millions in health care expenses. 95 percent of respondents said that preventive care is important, yet only 24 percent gave themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure a preventive lifestyle. Furthermore, the report shockingly found that, among the Baby Boomer population, only 33 percent of women have had a mammogram, and only 24 percent of men have had a prostate exam in the last two years. Unfortunately, the bad news regarding the state of health in the U.S. does not stop there. A Call for Change also found that less than half of the adults surveyed (49 percent) said they’ve exercised routinely in the last two years, and only 52 percent said that they’ve attempted to improve their eating habits or have incorporated more nutritious foods into meals. In fact, broken down by region, the numbers show this is a problem in every region of the nation. Eating habits across the country, along with lack of exercise and fear of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, are forming a dangerous trio that is preventing many Americans from leading healthy lives.
“As Americans, we need to collectively read between the lines at what these numbers are showing us,” said Scott Zimmerman, President of Televox Software “People are self-reporting the fact that they are in poor health and need to do something about it, and the fear of out-of-pocket expenses is holding people back. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Americans have the opportunity to improve their own lives by taking advantage of the preventive care that is available to each and every one of us.”
Finding the Beauty in Prevention
According to A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans, exercise is, and should be, a common suggestion for doctors to provide, as 53 percent of the women surveyed reported receiving a suggestion for increased physical activity from a doctor. And while 45 percent of women said that over the past two years they’ve tried to exercise routinely or at least three times a week, only 24 percent of women give themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure preventive care.
In the same breath, only about one-third (32 percent) of women have taken the preventive measure of discussing medical history and risk factors with their doctor in the last two years. Other gaps in the preventive process were highlighted in A Call for Change: Over the past two years, only 23 percent of women have been screened for diabetes, only 39 percent have had mammograms, a small 14 percent have had any type of cancer screening, and only 29 percent have had their cholesterol checked. Moreover, almost half of the women surveyed, 47 percent, admitted they are currently treating a disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes or cancer. And 53 percent of women said they take prescribed medication on a regular basis.
“Women spend so much time taking care of all of the people in their lives that they tend to put their own health on the back burner,” Zimmerman said. “It is important that women understand they need to take all necessary precautions and preventive measures for themselves, as well as their families.”
The BIG Problem
The U.S. has become known for its larger than life mentality — big houses, big televisions, big meal portions, and now big people — are commonplace in our country. According to the CDC, 35 percent of women in the U.S. are obese as of this year, and that percentage has remained the same since 1999. For men, obesity has risen from 27 percent to 35 percent over the same amount of time. The worry is that these numbers will continue to rise and that the health of American men will continue to deteriorate. The CDC also found that one in four men have some form of heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death among men and one of the direct side effects of obesity. Other direct side effects of weight gain include diabetes and certain types of cancer, which all fall under the category of potentially preventable conditions.
Though A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans found that almost all men, 94 percent, feel that preventive care is important, only 24 percent give themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure preventive care for themselves. And while 92 percent of men reported that they feel taking proper preventive measures saves patients money and think it is less expensive to prevent a serious condition or disease than it is to treat it, only about one-third (34 percent) of men have taken the preventive measure of discussing medical history and risk factors with their doctor in the last two years. Since preventive care is covered under the Affordable Care Act, it is going to become increasingly important for healthcare providers to take the steps necessary to build relationships with patients that provide them with information, support and encouragement in hopes of helping them truly grasp and understand the importance of preventive care.
Preventive Care for All Ages
While research suggests a lack of prevention awareness among teens and young adults, Generation Y (ages 25-34), Generation X (ages 35-44) and Baby Boomers (ages 45-54) are, by no means, taking necessary precautions for their own health. Almost 95 percent of all three age groups agree that preventive care is important, yet a very small percentage of each group gave themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure a preventive lifestyle — only 15 percent of Gen Y, 18 percent of Gen X, and 32 percent of Baby Boomers.
A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans did find that roughly 50 percent of each generation reported that in the past two years they’ve tried to exercise routinely, or at least three times a week, but it’s not enough. Many are failing to undergo screenings or discuss medical history with their doctors. Still surprising is that that number of those being screened remained small as age increased. Only 22 percent of Baby Boomers have had some type of cancer screening. Less than half of both Gen X and Baby Boomers have undergone a cholesterol screening, and less than 40 percent of all generations have discussed their medical history and risk factors with their doctors. A Call for Change also uncovered the shocking fact that in the past two years, only 33 percent of Baby Boomer women have received a mammogram and only 24 percent of Boomer men have received a prostate exam.
“There is no age group that is immune from disease, so preventive care really is ageless,” Zimmerman said. “In order to make a better tomorrow, it is going to become increasingly important for Americans to take advantage of the preventive healthcare available to set a standard for future generations.”
Creating a Healthy World
No matter your age, gender, or location, preventive action will not only improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but it will also improve quality of life and save lives. Patients want to be involved in their care, but need the tools to stay educated, encouraged and motivated to follow through for their own health. Text messages, phone calls and emails from physician get patients’ attention while providing this desired support and involvement.
Increasing patient communication efforts will require forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who understand that their continued involvement is critical to ensuring a healthy future for our patients. Many physicians understand that engaging patients between office visits can inspire them to embrace and build the habits to follow through with treatment plans. They know personalized, ongoing engagement can activate positive lifestyle changes that will help people lead healthy lives.
- Download the full report for a deeper look at the findings: www.televox.com/resources/healthy-world
- To arrange an interview with Scott Zimmerman, President of TeleVox, to discuss these study findings in more detail, please contact Robby Trail from Jones PR at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 402-507-5094.