Well, the new, evolving, confusing statin news appears to be a gift that keeps on giving. (Only practices that are fielding loads of calls from confused patients are probably considering it just the opposite. An anti-gift that keeps on giving perhaps?)
In case you haven’t heard yet, the New York Times reports today that the risk calculator provided by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology appears to be flawed. The calculator may be significantly overstating patient risk and suggesting that millions of people who don’t need statins should be considered candidates to take them. (I won’t get into the details here — the Times article does a nice job of simplifying what might have caused the problems with the calculator.)
But I will take the opportunity to point out, as I did last week, that confusing and unnerving media stories like this create an opportunity for your practice to use technology to help manage contacts from confused or nervous patients while also reinforcing your practice’s bond with them. Your website or social media presence can be a great way to remind people not to change their own treatment plans without advice from their physician (for example, if this is the message your physicians feel should be emphasized). And your EMR can become a helpful tool to quickly identify your subset of patients who might be confused so that you can reach out to them proactively.
Imagine how grateful an anxious cardiac patient might be to hear from your practice with clarification about this news, and whether he needs to worry about it. Your EMR can make reaching out like this a lot easier (yes, an EMR can make something easier!) — and you can possibly meet a needed Meaningful Use measure at the same time.