Clinic reminds patients to stay on top of preventive care

Courtesy of the Stuttgart Health Clinic

The Stuttgart Army Health Clinic uses HEDIS, or the Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set, to measure overall health-care performance.

By monitoring and collecting this information, health care providers are better able to customize the healthcare plan that is right for each patient – with a primary goal of disease prevention.

“We want to move from a health care system, to a system of health,” said Capt. Katherine Converse, Stuttgart Health Clinic clinical nurse officer-in-charge. “Which means taking a holistic approach where prevention is key, and detection is early.”

There are a number of tests and health categories that are included in this data set. The Stuttgart Health Clinic and the Department of Defense medical community focus on the following areas: asthma management, diabetes management, breast cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, well-child exams and immunizations, routine sexually-transmitted-infection screening, and body mass index (BMI).

Each time a patient comes to the clinic, a health care provider will take these factors into account when creating a care plan right for you. Providers may ask for some specific tests if necessary.

“We also want you to be empowered with information so you can ask about care that may be coming due,” said Maj. (Dr.) Cody Mead, the clinic’s officer-in-charge. “People who get preventive screenings are shown to be healthier over a longer term.”

Here are some general guidelines for preventative screening exams:

  • Breast cancer screening (mammogram) should begin for most people between the ages of 40 and 50. Routine screening is done every 2 years.
  • Colorectal screening (colonoscopy or stool occult card samples) should begin for both males and females at age 50. Routine colonoscopies are good for 10 years, and the stool cards are valid for 1 year.
  • Cervical cancer screening (Pap smear) should begin at age 21. Pap smears are performed at varying intervals between 1 and 5 years based on the test results. Talk with your provider about the plan that’s best for you.
  • Chlamydia screening (a urine sample) is done for sexually active females 16-24 years old. This screening is done every year.
  • Diabetic monitoring (Hemoglobin A1C) is done at least annually. Monitoring this test is very important as it gives a three-month average of your blood sugar. Other tests and exams are highly encouraged for diabetics and should be discussed with your provider.
  • Children are monitored for routine immunizations and management of diagnosed asthma during at least 6 appointments during their first 14 months of life.

Patients should review this list to determine if they are potentially due for one of these key exams.

“You can also log into Tricare online to see when your tests were last performed, or contact Relay Health and allow a nurse to look up the information for you,” said Converse.

If you feel that you fit one of the criteria, call the Stuttgart Health Clinic appointment line at DSN: 590-2900/civ. 06371-9464-2900 and ask for an appointment to discuss this with your primary care provider.

Prevention’s importance

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers these sobering 2012 statistics:

  • 134,784 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including 70,204 men and 64,580 women. 51,516 people in the United States died from colorectal cancer, including 26,866 men and 24,650 women.
  • 12,042 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer. 4,074 women in the United States died from cervical cancer.
  • 224,147 women and 2,125 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer. 41,150 women and 405 men in the United States died from breast cancer.

Patients should receive regularly scheduled screening exams to aid in prevention. For more information regarding the prevalence of the diseases visit