“It takes a village…” This phrase is true in many aspects of our lives. Perhaps there is no aspect more relevant than our health. Today’s medical landscape includes teams of experts and specialists, all of whom can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you heal.
What is comprehensive care?
Comprehensive care is teamwork at its best. It brings multiple disciplines under one roof to offer the best care, while decreasing costs, wait times and inconveniences for patients. Ali Baaj, MD, is a neurosurgeon at Banner - University Medicine Neurosurgery Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. He offered his firsthand experience to illustrate the value of comprehensive care.
“This approach allows us to address the needs and concerns of patients before, during and after treatment,” said Dr. Baaj. “Although I am a surgeon, comprehensive care does not always include or lead to surgery.” In fact, with the help of a comprehensive care team, alternatives to surgery can sometimes be found.
Who is part of a comprehensive care team?
Your team will depend on your condition and needs. If you have recently experienced a heart attack, your team may be centered around cardiologists with help from nurses, hematologists and others. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, your team could include pulmonologists, oncologists and radiologists.
Dr. Baaj talked through a common team he works with often as a neurosurgeon. “Many patients suffering from back pain have not considered less invasive treatments. They are referred to a physiatrist or pain management specialist for treatment with non-surgical solutions. If they continue to have pain, and they are deemed surgical candidates, they are triaged back to me, a spine surgeon.”
A team approach to care allows for creative treatments that work in the best interest of the patient.
Why is comprehensive care so important?
Everything in our bodies is interconnected and there is lots of crossover between medical disciplines. Even the world’s top doctors are not oracles for all knowledge and experience. Working with a team will ensure that every perspective is considered by an expert in that specific field. Before, during and after your treatment, comprehensive care will ensure that your whole health is considered, sometimes including preventive measures like physical therapy and behavioral health support.
A team approach to healing can save patients money
Comprehensive care is becoming a widely accepted standard for modern medicine and not just because patient outcomes are better. The approach has also shown an ability to save money for both providers and patients. According to a 2015 study, patient costs were about 10% lower when family physicians partnered with a larger team to offer more hands-on care and resulted in fewer hospitalizations.
Understanding your health is the first step in preventing major health concerns before they happen. To better understand your health, try taking one of our health assessments. By answering a few simple questions at home, you will have a better understanding of your risk for potential issues such as heart disease, stroke, joint pain and more.
Comprehensive care puts positive patient outcomes at the forefront. You can learn more about the latest in health care strategies in these articles written with help from Banner Health experts.
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