Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to Be the CEO of Your Health

Rources for Empowered Patients

Last week, we had the good fortune of having Dr. Michelle Gourdine come talk to the ASHA staff. She delivered a presentation titled You're the Boss: How to be the CEO of Your Health. Dr. Gourdine is a physician and CEO of Michelle Gourdine and Associates. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and a Senior Associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She served as Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) from 2005 - 2008. So, she knows both the medical and policy sides of health care. She is a nationally-sought-after speaker and author of the book, Reclaiming Our Health:  A Guide to African American Wellness. We have a few copies in HR if you're interested in checking it out.

She began by showing us slides that demonstrate how we spend too much on healthcare in the US and get results that pale in comparison to other countries. (The one to the left was my favorite.) She pointed out that chronic disease is driving a lot of our spending and that there is an inverse relationship to what we spend to improve our health and what really makes us healthier. She stressed that 90% of Type 2 diabetes, 80% of heart disease and 60% of all cancers can be prevented by basic healthy lifestyle choices. People manage their health through day-to-day decisions. She suggested we start by asking ourselves these questions.

She shared some practical approaches for accomplishing each and added a 5.1 How well am I managing my stress? She also mentioned the importance getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. You can see her recommendations by flipping through the slide show below. I also recommend reading Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath. It's full of compelling reasons to do all of the above and practical tips that will improve your health.

Dr. Gourdine moved on with tips to help us get the most out of relationship with our doctors. She recommended that we ask these five questions any time a doctor recommends that we take a medication or have a test or procedure.

She explained when seeking a second opinion is valuable and outlined which screenings she recommends. It seems these recommendations are changing all the time and I was grateful that she outlined everything clearly. She cautioned against chasing test results rather than treating a patient and cited The $50,000 Physical that was in JAMA last June as a cautionary tale. 

Here are her screening recommendations:
  • Blood pressure check every 2 years…more frequent if high 
  • Cholesterol test every 5 years 
  • Diabetes test every 3 years 
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 
  • Dental exam and cleaning yearly 
  • Eye exam every 1 to 3 years 
  • Height, weight, BMI every year or 2 
  • Flu shot yearly 
  • Tetanus booster every 10 years 
  • Prostate cancer screening and PSA -- Discuss with provider starting at age 50…age 45 if African American 
  • Annual lung cancer screening (low dose CT scan) for smokers 55 – 80 with: 30 pack year smoking history AND currently smoke or have quit within past 15 years
  • Mammogram every 2 years starting at age 50
  • Pap smear (and HPV) -- Every 3 years starting at age 21 and every 5 years starting at age 40
She also shared 5 resources for empowered patients:
Again, I recommend flipping through the presentation and don't forget to mark your calendar for October 16 at 1:00 when Dr. Gourdine will be back. She'll be talking to us about where to seek care. 

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