Sometimes the simplest medical findings can be pretty shocking.
For instance, recent studies show that only 2.7% of Americans are following the 4 main pillars of heart health. As we all know, the suggested pillars of heart health are not lofty practices. If you are of appropriate weight, eat a moderate diet, don't smoke, and exercise from time to time -- you have followed the pillars.
It's certainly sobering news, in terms of what can be expected for Americans' health outcomes -- and the accompanying costs. But we also think there is an interesting reminder here about care coordination and healthcare collaboration. It is so easy to make the mistake of thinking that medicine is about an event or an intervention: a successful surgery; a single patient's visit; a condition gone into remission. But this study reminds us that good healthcare is as simple as it is multifactorial. It has to do with what patients do when they get home, as much as what happens to them in the hospital. And being healthy depends on what we actually do for our health, not just on knowing the "4 pillars of heart health."
In other words: good healthcare is about connecting the dots. If only 2.7% of Americans are following simple guidelines that will keep them from major cardiac problems, then we know for sure that healthcare coordination and coordination of care across the continuum of care -- among social workers, nutritionists, aides, caregivers, teachers, family members, patients, nurses, and doctors -- is the ONLY way that we will see good results.
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