• Risk Stratification

    Understanding Risk Stratification: A Primer

    Whether we like it or not, we all fall into different categories and classifications for many aspects in our lives.  Some groupings are more obvious: our ethnic heritage, the neighborhood we live in, the position we hold at work, etc.  Other divisions that aren’t as evident include religion, the activities we participate in, and favorite type of movie or book, among many others.  In the world of healthcare, we are classified according to “risk stratification” – our overall well-being.

    Risk Stratification

    Many of us in the populace probably fit into an overall  healthy category, with no serious or on-going medical issues that require medical assistance of any sort.  This low-risk tier is not where healthcare professionals put much of their attention or worry; very little medical expenditures are dedicated here, and most patients are treated for minor ailments or simple routine check-ups.

    The next grouping would be individuals who have some level of chronic disease or medical condition that requires some sort of continuing care.  People in this category are managing their illness, but with more severe cases, they may not be in full control of all symptoms. They mostly have no further progression or additional complications to ongoing circumstances.

    Unfortunately, there are many people who fall into a dangerous grouping of patients that suffer with a progression of their diseases or illnesses that is ever-changing, worsening, or have the development of new symptoms or conditions that make treatment difficult, unending and costly.  With several individuals who are considered catastrophic, which classifies them with life-threatening and possibly life-ending diagnoses.

    Risk Stratification

    When a practitioner understands where a patient lies within these parameters, a plan of action can be taken so as to prevent progression, or further complications that would endanger the patient’s health.  The risk categorization allows a medical professional to reduce waste of time and resources by allocating support where necessary and eliminating waste where avoidable.  This is made possible with predictive analytics.

    To be able to predict not only how a patient should receive medical treatment is essential.  No one wants to be subjected to additional, unnecessary testing or procedures. Providing assistance in the form of home healthcare visits, medicine reconciliations or follow-up appointments to secure the best possible outcomes is essential.

    This personalized care plan leads directly to an improvement in quality of life, the prevention the advancement of chronic diseases, the development of additional ailments, re-categorization to a higher-risk category, and a reduction in total medical expenses.

    Risk Stratification

    Many of us don’t mind being listed in different societal divisions, in fact, we often proudly identify ourselves as such.  Other times, these divisions make us feel like outcasts or judged for something other than who we really are.

    However, when it comes to being set in a category of health, we should trust the diagnosis of the medical professional who literally knows us inside and out.  By understanding the classification of well-being that we are currently in, we are able to take the directions given to improve our overall health, make goals to lessen our risk stratification, and reduce time and energy put into taking care of medical issues, to leave time to do the things we really want to do.