By Michael P. Ward on 5/29/18 1:00 PM
When it comes to knowing if you might be at future risk for Coronary Heart Disease, believe it or not, your genetic code is not the factor that is most predictive of an adverse coronary event. It’s your zip code. And the devil is in the data.
Researchers for years have written and lectured on the fact a person’s zip code has more to do with their health outcomes than their genetic code. It's true that data doesn’t lie but it only gives you the information you are looking for. Common sense can tell us that a person living in the zip code 19121 with 49% of the population living below the poverty line is more likely to have heart disease and no-show their appointment than a person living in the zip code of 02116, where just 12% live below the poverty line.
Cardiovascular disease is not only the most chronic and expensive disease but one of the most preventable in America, which begs the question why costs associated with cardiovascular disease is set to skyrocket to $1.1 trillion by 2035. Five years ago, this would have been an easier answer as health care did not place as much emphasis on preventative treatment for payment models or incentive-based models that reimburse healthcare providers based on quality care outcomes. Plus, in many ways, we lacked the appropriate tools and technologies that now allow consumers to track, monitor and take preventative action prior to being hospitalized, which as we know are costly adverse events that can often require ambulance rides.
Nothing in life is rocket science except rocket science itself, and oftentimes the simplest explanation is the best solution to even the most complex problems. Combating cardiovascular disease is no different and a few of the many cost-effective and preventative methods are discussed below:
Apple Watch: Other than a person's zip code being a strong predictive factor of having heart disease, resting blood pressure and heart rate are strong predictive factors of whether or not a person is at risk of cardiovascular disease. Both of these are tracked and measured while wearing your Apple Watch and can be integrated into your electronic health record through the Apple Health app, which allows a patient’s care provider to monitor for changes and proactively triage the patient and decide on the appropriate form of care prior to a patient being admitted to the hospital. In fact, Apple and Stanford have recently teamed together for the Apple Heart Study in attempting to provide proactive cost-effective care for people with cardiovascular disease.
Circulation: Is a cloud-based HIPAA compliant non-emergency patient transportation platform that integrates with Lyft among other ride-sharing services including wheelchair vans, ambulances, and client-owned fleets. We currently service over 1,500 healthcare facilities reducing our customers no-show rates to 8% on average, lower than the industry average of 25-30%. Similar to a person's zip code being strongly correlated to cardiovascular disease, patients in the same zip codes are frequent no-showers to their appointments due to lack of transportation means. With quick, convenient, and cost-effective transportation, patients with cardiovascular disease are able to attend their scheduled preventative appointments. As a result, caregivers can provide the compassionate care they have been trained to perform, thereby reducing the cost of care associated with caring for these patients, and most importantly, leading to higher quality health outcomes for patients.
Michael is an Account Executive at Circulation