Sometimes internet resources can assist physicians in educating their patients and helping them achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle as long as those websites provide evidence-based, actionable data or advice. Here are two tools that physicians can use in clinical practice.
Managed by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHD), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), healthfinder.gov is a trusted source for reliable prevention information for patients. The website provides resources to support patients as they make decisions about their health.
One feature of the website, myhealthfinder, is an interactive tool with personalized and evidence-based recommendations for life-saving preventive services. The tool offers actionable, plain-language prevention guidance and information based on a patient’s self-reported age, sex and pregnancy status.
Included in the tool are evidence-based recommendations from multiple agencies within HHS including the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and expert groups such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
How can this tool be used in clinical practice?
“Health care providers refer their patients to healthfinder.gov and myhealthfinder to foster shared decision-making about how to prevent disease and stay healthy,” Linda M. Harris, PhD, director of the Division of Health Communication and eHealth in the ODPHP, told AMA Wire®.
The website “offers ‘questions for the doctor,’ which can be referred by providers to encourage patients to prepare for their visits,” she said. “[The] resources for consuming less sodium are [also] popular. Other examples of recent popular topics include tips for choosing a doctor, well-woman visits and colorectal cancer screening.”
“Well-informed patients are better prepared to actively engage in making decisions about their care,” Harris said.
“Many people are using the myhealthfinder tool to learn more about preventive services that are relevant to them,” she said. “The Health Topics A to Z and the myhealthfinder tool can be easily integrated into any website for free. This means that any organization can share the most recently vetted, evidence-based prevention information and personalized preventive services recommendations with their audiences.”
CVS Health recently integrated the tool into their MinuteClinic website. Healthfinder.gov includes interactive quizzes that engage patients in learning about topics such as physical activity and nutrition to help them and physicians make health care decisions together.
Getting specific—diabetes prevention
Another web tool you can use with patients arises out of the AMA’s and CDC’s joint effort, Prevent Diabetes STAT, which reflects long-term dedication to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through prediabetes awareness and education. The website holds vital information and tools for physicians, health professionals and patients.
Your patients can find information on what they need to know about prediabetes and can take a quick test to see if they are at risk. There is also information on how to find a diabetes prevention program (DPP) near them so that they can take action before prediabetes progresses to type 2 diabetes.
Physicians can download toolkits that help them engage their patients and their health care teams in preventing type 2 diabetes. They include information physicians can provide to patients, including what to do if prediabetes is indicated, how to participate in a DPP, and several other clinical tools to prevent or identify prediabetes.