AHRQ Offers Guide to Doing Wellness Visits
Dec 9, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has developed a guide for primary care physicians and other clinicians to help them implement health assessments, such as those performed at annual wellness visits.
Health Assessments in Primary Care: A How-to Guide for Clinicians and Staff is designed for practices that use electronic health records as well as those that use paper charts.
The Affordable Care Act provides for an annual well visit — designed to identify potentially problematic health risks such as anxiety, depression, poor exercise habits, and poor diet — that is free of patient cost-sharing.
However, many patients don’t receive such an annual assessment, nor do they get a plan to address risks, according to AHRQ, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The guide provides practical and evidence-based methods to implement health risk assessments and ultimately to engage patients in making lifestyle changes to improve their health,” AHRQ Director Richard Kronick, PhD, said in a statement.
The guide explains how to determine whether your practice is ready to implement the assessments, how to integrate assessments into the practice’s workflow, how to collect assessment information, and how to sustain assessments.
The guide was developed by the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine. It was pilot-tested in practices in Colorado, New Jersey, Georgia, and Louisiana.