To Help Patients in the Future, Focus on the Present

WHEN TAKING ON THE MINDSET of one of his patients, Jordan Asher, MD, chief clinical officer for MissionPoint Health Partners, notices that his priorities are distinctly different than when he is in clinician-mode. As a patient, “I’m just trying to live my day-to-day, and I’m not even worried about [my doctor] preventing me from dying,” Asher tells Patient Engagement HIT.

As an internist, Asher’s instinct is to tackle issues head-on and emphasize to his patients that they should manage chronic diseases that affect their immediate and future health. When he realized that his patients focus more on comfortable living rather than future complications, Asher shifted his approach.

“When working with an obese patient who needed to lose weight, the medical education side would be, ‘let me educate you, Mrs. Smith, on why you need to lose weight,’” Asher says. “Do you not think that person already knows that?”

Asher follows a different protocol. Instead, he would ask ‘Mrs. Smith’ what she enjoys doing and what has bothered her in the past as it affects her health. When treating patients with mental illness, for example, Asher says he would address a patient’s depression before introducing treatment for other comorbidities, which would require their engagement in activities.

“Unless a patient is in a medical crisis, [I think] about the behavioral dynamics as first order and clinical issues as a very close second order,” Asher tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive in a conversation about leveraging population health strategies.

With CMS value-based care requirements quickly approaching, Asher is just one of many clinicians flipping the script on traditional care routines and putting patient engagement first.

Take care.

–Shelby