The Importance of a Health Risk Assessment

healthcare provider holding data board wearing medical clothes and stethoscope

We typically only visit our healthcare provider if we get sick. The GP will check out our symptoms, do a few examinations and create a course of action. The appointment will be solely focused on the illness you are currently suffering from.

But What About our Overall Health and Wellbeing?

Those over 65 are eligible for a free annual wellness visit through Medicare. Without these annual checkups, doctors are not aware of your medications, supplements and vitamins and as such, cannot advise on or evaluate potential negative interactions between them. Other underlying issues like memory or hereditary conditions also will not come in up a standard appointment with your doctor, and therefore booking in for an annual wellness visit is incredibly important.

During the visit, the nurse, nurse practitioner or physician will do a health risk assessment.

What is the Health Risk Assessment?

The HRA is a questionnaire which helps doctors understand your current health and anything that may lead to risks or issues in the future. The annual wellness visit is a preventative measure in a way, so that Medicare patients can get the help and care they need. Practices will use a merit-based incentive payment system to adjust payments so that Medicare patients can access health care, as well as their yearly assessment, without breaking the bank.

What is Included in the HRA?

The health risk assessment involves asking the patient a series of questions about their current health concerns, diet, lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking, mental health and their family’s past health history.

The questions aim to highlight any risks or current issues that could be detrimental to your health in the future. For example, those that have smoked all their life are at higher risk of having a stroke. All these lifestyle factors will help the doctor put a wellness plan in place for you, to help you live a healthy and long life.

As well as general health issues, the HRA will also assess your capabilities to look after yourself. The assessment will include questions about mental health, memory and your risk of falling within your home. If one of these assessments is failed, the system will flag it and the doctor will work to create a health plan that works to protect you.

Why is the HRA so Important?

The HRA is done through a simple questionnaire that the physician may get you to fill out yourself. While it might seem like just another questionnaire, its value should not be underestimated. Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in the way healthcare is dispensed, with more value-based, preventative care being prioritized, rather than just working to cure and remedy current ailments.

By being able to identify risks before they develop, healthcare agencies can prevent chronic conditions occurring. Preventing these illnesses are not just beneficial for your health, either. They can also decrease healthcare costs for you and your doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of the US’s annual healthcare expenditure is spent on chronic disease and mental health. By administering the health risk assessment, costs can be decreased for organizations across the states, and we can all feel safer and healthier day after day.

Your annual HRA is nothing to be scared of but is incredibly important. If you have not done so already, book in for your annual wellness visit today.

Thanks to Zaklina

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