Patients are increasingly educating themselves on the various resources and services offered by physicians, clinics and hospitals. As information is so readily available online, a quick search can change a patient’s perspective on their health care.
With so many available options, patients want to make sure they can get the quality care that best suits their needs. They also want engagement features that lets them know their doctor sees them as a person, not just another name on a list.
How Well Do You Know Your Patient’s History?
Do you have time, as a physician, to really delve into your patient’s family history of illnesses or others? Do they have a genetic predisposition for something that could be managed or cured if caught at an early stage?
Typically, patients have an average of 15 minutes to spend with their doctors, needing to run through the state of their health at that precise moment. Unfortunately, without a detailed list, they often remember things they wanted to mention later that day or maybe even a week later. Should they reschedule another appointment at a later date? How easy is it to call their doctor and share the missing information?
Some patients require more follow-ups or other care due to family illnesses, resulting in the need for certain services or more specifically, preventive medicine. This is why many patients and doctors are starting to look into and talk about Annual Wellness Visits.
What Are Annual Wellness Visits?
In an effort to move towards preventive medicine rather than focusing on costly interventions, CMS put forth Annual Wellness Visits. These are different from a patient’s annual checkup as they do not include a physical exam.
An Annual Wellness Visit is essentially a detailed, question-based assessment of a patient’s current health and risk factors and is completely free for patients. Once a year, patients meet with a healthcare professional to identify at-risk areas and are then followed by counseling to help them reduce their health risk factors.
They are a great opportunity for patients to really delve into their current symptoms and lifestyle to have a better idea and understanding of what to change or watch out for. It really empowers them and gives their doctor a better notion of what is going on with their health.
Going beyond the preventive measures, there are also other great benefits for Annual Wellness Visits. As AAFP’s review of Medicare’s AWV states:
“The AWV provides an opportunity for physicians to improve the quality of care, assist in patient engagement, and optimize payment opportunities. […] Implementing the service allows physicians to invest in patient-centered, team-based care while promoting quality and cost-effective care.”
What Really Makes AWV So Appealing?
Annual Wellness Visits have many benefits, some of them being:
- They are free for patients
- They provide an annual reimbursement to physicians
- They include a Personalized Plan of Preventive Services (PPPS)
- They reduce the cost of unnecessary trips to the ER
- They give a better idea of a patient’s overall health
- They target preventive medicine.
Understanding the Benefits of Annual Wellness Visits
This whitepaper goes deeper into the benefits for both patients and physicians, as well as factors to consider when implementing such a service.