Boosting Physician Q and A
Doctors who ask their heart patients to complete a wholistic quality-of-life survey could be helping those patients to live longer and healthier lives according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
A new statement published the AHA journal, Circulation, encourages physicians and healthcare providers to use standardized surveys when talking with their heart patients about the impact of the disease on their health. The surveys include questions about their patient’s physical health but also mental health and overall quality of life.
The AHA says focusing on patients general quality of life and asking questions that go beyond the basics of symptoms, can help predict future heart problems, hospitalizations and even death.
“Ultimately, efforts to improve the healthcare system will only be successful if they translate into better patient outcomes — not just longevity, but also how well patients live,” said John Rumsfeld, M.D., lead statement author in a news release. “This statement recommends increasing the standardized measurement of patient health status — so we can better understand, monitor and minimize the burden of disease on patients’ lives.”
The statement notes that surveys have been a key tool in clinical trials and research but generally aren’t used on a daily basis in the physician’s office.
“Changes in health status are prognostic of outcome, including death and heart events. Measuring patient health status may help identify patients having more difficulty with symptoms or daily functioning due to their cardiovascular disease,” Rumsfeld said.
The AHA says key survey questions can help uncover symptoms of depression which can complicate and worsen cardiovascular health. It’s not uncommon for depression to be underdiagnosed, the statement said.
Diagnosing and treating depression among heart patients can improve their quality of life, the statement said.
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