As we all know, the U.S. medical landscape and health care system has many issues still to overcome. For example, the U.S. obesity rate is more than twice the average of comparable countries, putting our populace at greater risk of obesity-related conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, and some of the most common cancers. One in six patients struggle to pay for medical care. And with the shortage of obstetrician–gynecologists, many women struggle to find appropriate medical care at all.
These issues often result in patients falling through the gaps in the system, causing their health to suffer significantly. That’s why it’s critical for obstetrician–gynecologists to ramp up the efforts to personalize and make available preventive health care for all patients, to protect their health before adverse outcomes occur.
Dr. Chalas is committing her presidential term to putting patients first by improving preventive care measures during health care visits. The many interactions that obstetrician–gynecologists have with patients throughout their lives offer recurring opportunities to build up and protect the health of our patients and their families. Early identification of risk factors for future illness such as history of pregnancy-related medical conditions, obesity, family history of medical conditions, genetically inherited disease, and issues specific to cancer survivors allow us the chance to intervene early in our patients’ health to improve their quality of life in the long term.
Dr. Chalas outlined a clear vision for the future of health care and the advancement of preventive health care during her inaugural presidential address. Watch her speak and learn more about her initiative.
While the focus on preventive health care will benefit our patients, it will benefit obstetrician–gynecologists and their practices as well. Between the Sustainable Growth Rate Program’s cost-cutting measures implemented between 1997 and 2015 and the lack of regard of obstetrician–gynecologists as primary care professionals by hospital and health care systems, the services we provide are increasingly devalued as reflected in our decreasing reimbursement rates. To improve our reimbursement rates, we must highlight the fact that obstetrician–gynecologists play a crucial role in maintaining, protecting, and improving patients’ health throughout the entirety of their lives through critical preventive care.