Many healthcare providers gain a better understanding of the health of their community members’ through the provision of online risk assessments. However, simply assessing risk is not enough to improve health, and health improvement requires changing behavior through education, motivation, and delivering appropriate, timely clinical care.
Engaging Patients with Risk Assessments
It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to empower patients with the education and support needed to improve their health and to reduce their cancer risks. Healthcare providers are encouraging patient engagement in many ways, including utilization of innovative wearable tech and mobile apps. While these types of technology can provide value, they also create barriers for some patients by requiring application downloads, requiring the collection of login credentials and providing information in confusing technical medical terms.
HealthAware’s Connect risk assessments are designed to be easily accessible from any device and do not require a username or password. They also are designed to be easy to understand as they are written on a 5th-grade reading level and provide both written and visual displays of risk factors.
HealthAware Connect Risk Program: Specific Cancer Risk Assessments
Nearly 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lives. HealthAware’s Connect oncology risk program can help healthcare professionals improve the health of their communities by providing online education and resources for individuals who may be at risk for various types of cancer. These online tools aid in the early detection of cancer which can dramatically increase chances of survival.
Cancer varies in type, frequency, and rates of occurrence and survival. In 2014, female breast cancer topped the list of cancer incidents, followed closely by prostate cancer, although lung cancer claimed the most lives. In 2017 in the United States there will be an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases and 600,920 cancer deaths. More than 25 percent of those deaths will be due to lung cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest.
HealthAware offers several oncology modules that focus on specific types of cancer. All CancerAware risk assessments include questions on age, gender, family history and ethnicity, and most inquire about obesity, diet, smoking, alcohol use and exercise.
- BreastCancerAware collects info from respondents on menstrual period history, reproduction history, estrogen replacement therapy, and breast exam or biopsy results.
- ColonCancerAware asks questions focused on the history of colorectal polyps and diabetes.
- LungCancerAware asks the participant if they are suffering from any of the following: a chronic cough, difficulty breathing and pulmonary conditions, in addition to asking about environmental hazards and hormone replacement therapy.
- ProstateCancerAware inquiries about the participant’s last PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test and DRE (digital rectal exam) results.
Long-Term Health Benefits of Oncology Risk Assessments
Lifestyle factors can play a significant role in how likely an individual is to develop cancer. Quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutritious diet can all help to reduce an individual’s risk. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes can be difficult to maintain long term. Motivation helps change behaviors. When patients can see the impact that lifestyle changes have on their risk level, they feel more motivated to continue with those changes. Without an assessment, it is difficult for the provider to assess what a participant may be at risk for and how to provide them with the proper care. At HealthAware we have had over 1.5 million participants take our risk assessments across 250 health care systems resulting in better outcomes for those who have taken action.