Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams: Study

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An interdisciplinary primary care model ideal setting to promote physical activity as medicine

From the 2 February 2015 Canadian Science Publishing site

To better understand the current use of physical activity as medicine among Family Health Teams (FHTs) in Ontario, researchers at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team conducted an environmental scan of 102 FHTs. They published their findings today in the journalApplied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

Family Health Teams (FHTs) are part of a shift towards a multidisciplinary primary care model that addresses the healthcare needs of a community by allowing different healthcare professionals to work collaboratively under one roof.  Currently, FHTs serve a relatively small percentage of Ontarians; however, their multi-disciplinary structure may create an ideal environment to enable physical activity promotion as most Canadians receive healthcare though the primary care system. Physical activity has well-established health benefits; however, the best way to engage Canadians in an active lifestyle remains largely unknown.

Before this environmental scan, the number and types of physical activity promotion services, and the types of professionals providing physical activity counselling in Ontario FHTs was not known .

The researchers found that almost 60% of responding FHTs in Ontario offered a physical activity service.  However, the types, durations and targeted populations of the services varied depending on the individual FHT.  Physical activity services were often restricted to people with specific conditions or needs rather than available to all individuals.

According to the study, “many different types of allied health professionals were facilitating physical activity services.  The diversity in the qualifications is concerning, as it suggests that individuals providing physical activity therapy do not always have qualifications related to physical activity prescription and counselling.”

Cameron Moore, from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and co-author  of the study said, “It is promising that almost 60% of responding FHTs offered a physical activity service.  However, continued efforts are needed to increase the accessibility and standardization of physical activity therapy offered though primary care.“

“In Ontario, Kinesiology is a newly accredited professional designation with a scope of practice that includes physical activity promotion and prescription. We feel that physical activity counsellors who are Registered Kinesiologists with expertise in physical activity prescription and behavior change counselling are ideally suited as primary care providers in FHTs.”

The article “Physical Activity as Medicine among Family Health Teams: An Environmental Scan of Physical Activity Services in an Interdisciplinary Primary Care Setting” was published today in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

 

February 3, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Article about a doctor who shunned research to serve under- and uninsured

I do admire this physician’s initiative and perseverance in finding financial resources to serve the costliest patients in Camden.

From the  20th November blog item at -Jot Sheet –  “I’d just sit there and play with the data for hours.”

I’m re-reading an essential healthcare article by Atul Gawande, published in the New Yorker in January, 2011. **I can hardly believe that was only about three years ago. It made a huge impression on me. The article begins with a profile of Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, whose explanation of his work to identify trends in emergency room use in Camden is the title of this post.

As a medical student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in Piscataway, he had planned to become a neuroscientist. But he volunteered once a week in a free primary-care clinic for poor immigrants, and he found the work there more challenging than anything he was doing in the laboratory. The guy studying neuronal stem cells soon became the guy studying Spanish and training to become one of the few family physicians in his class. Once he completed his residency, in 1998, he joined the staff of a family-medicine practice in Camden. It was in a cheaply constructed, boxlike, one-story building on a desolate street of bars, car-repair shops, and empty lots. But he was young and eager to recapture the sense of purpose he’d felt volunteering at the clinic during medical school.

I like to read this article every year or so. I appreciate the appeal of untangling complicated problems and balancing your work between data-driven analytics and the expertise of real, live people.

“For all the stupid, expensive, predictive-modelling software that the big venders sell,” he says, “you just ask the doctors, ‘Who are your most difficult patients?,’ and they can identify them.”

A lot of what Brenner had to do, though, went beyond the usual doctor stuff.

Here I would argue that nurses are trained for the type of work Brenner describes. Yes, there are special doctors who are turned on by this kind of work, but far more common are nurses who take a holistic view of their patients’ lives.

If it were up to him, he’d recruit a whole staff of primary-care doctors and nurses and social workers, based right in the neighborhoods where the costliest patients lived. With the tens of millions of dollars in hospital bills they could save, he’d pay the staff double to serve as Camden’s élite medical force and to rescue the city’s health-care system.

But that’s not how the health-insurance system is built. So he applied for small grants from philanthropies like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Merck Foundation. The money allowed him to ramp up his data system and hire a few people, like the nurse practitioner and the social worker who had helped him with Hendricks. He had some desk space at Cooper Hospital, and he turned it over to what he named the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

There is so, so much more good stuff in this piece. It’s getting to the point where I am just copying and pasting, any it’s better to simply read the whole thing.

** THE HOT SPOTTERS – Can we lower medical costs by giving the neediest patients better care?
New Yorker, January 2011

 

November 22, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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