Avenues for better health in 2014

​​As 2014 moves into high gear, many people turn their attention to becoming more engaged in their health and look for ways to improve it.

Choose a primary care provider

One simple but powerful step on their list should be choosing a primary care provider (PCP). Many national studies document the benefits of building a long-term, ongoing relationship with a PCP, including:

  • More accurate diagnoses (a provider who sees you regularly will more easily identify changes in your health)
  • Better management of chronic conditions which saves money and can improve outcomes
  • Lower cost (seeing your PCP regularly and for urgent concerns means fewer hospitalizations and ER visits)
  • Improved referrals to specialists (your PCP’s familiarity with your health profile will enable them to refer you to the right person)
  • Increased comfort or familiarity with the PCP makes members feel more at ease with truly partnering with their provider

Additional benefits of an established PCP relationship have been shown in a multitude of studies. One study showed that adults who have an established relationship with a primary care provider had 33 percent lower costs of care and were 19 percent lower odds of dying. Another showed that an established PCP relationship was associated with lower smoking rates.

To find a Providence provider, visit the Provider Directory.

Maintain a personal health record

Another important resource to consider for health-conscious employees is the personal health record (PHR), which continues to grow in popularity as a tool for enabling patients to more fully participate in managing their health. For example, since patients increasingly receive care from multiple providers, PHRs provide patients with the convenience of comprehensive access to their medical information from all their health care providers. PHRs can help facilitate continuity of care across providers by allowing patients to better coordinate care with various health care providers. Patients’ ready access to their health information also means they can collaborate more effectively with their PCP around care decisions.

Some PHRs offer users the ability to communicate with their physicians, improving the quality and speed of communication between physicians and their patients. This provides several benefits including easier detection of potential drug reaction, better informed physicians who can respond more quickly if a health problem arises and patients who may be more likely to adhere to their medication regimens.

Providence leverages these advantages with MyChart, a free online health record for Providence patients. With MyChart, patients can view test results, send messages to their PCP and care team, schedule appointments, request prescription renewals and more. MyChart is also available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android smartphones and iPad tablets so whether a patient is at home, at work or on the go, their health information is just a tap away.

For additional information on creating an online personal health record, visit MyChart.​​​