September is National Cholesterol Education Month, which is a great time to help patients take charge of their heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 102 million American adults (20 years or older) have elevated cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. Worse, more than 35 million of these adults have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher – putting them at risk for heart disease.
Patient education has revolutionized beyond pamphlets and posters. Today’s technology allows providers many different ways to interact with patients on a personal level, including personalized texts and emails and interactive social media posts. Patients now expect communications from their provider to offer an informative experience that’s as easy as pulling up a YouTube video on their smartphone. Here some examples of how you can engage with patients to meet their expectations.
- Give Them the Facts – Provide patients with a better understanding of what numbers are considered high cholesterol. One way to do this is enhancing your practice website by including visuals, fact sheets, infographics and more. Provide a link to download a “Know the Facts about High Cholesterol” fact sheet from the CDC. Alternatively, check out the great infographic we have included in this blog.
- Evaluate Their Risk – Most patients don’t know their health risk. Here’s where you can help them determine if existing health conditions, their lifestyle or family history put them at risk for high cholesterol. One way to do this is to offer a quick and easy online health risk assessment survey. Text messages or emails invite patients to complete an online survey at their convenience. Providers can then determine care plans based on the patients’ responses.
- Offer Prevention and Management Tips – No matter their age, patients can take steps to keep their cholesterol levels in a healthy range with help and encouragement from their physician. Only half of all patients use preventive services at the recommended rate, and lack of communication with their provider is one of the most significant factors contributing to patients underutilizing preventive care. Automated wellness reminders offer personalized communication and allow patients to play an active role in their health.
- Keep Prevention at the Forefront – About 85% of patients say they want more communication from their medical providers. Another great way to do that is through positive patient-centric experiences such as on-hold messaging. Give patients more than music to listen to while they are waiting. Use the time they spend waiting on hold to educate them about any preventive services you offer and valuable wellness information that can help them keep their health top-of-mind.
For additional resources and cholesterol education materials, visit the CDC for resource guides. To learn more about how to overcome patients’ lack of preventive care awareness, download our free white paper, “Preventive Care Outreach: A Win-Win Opportunity for Patients and Providers.”