How CME Courses Can Help Medical Professionals With Chronic Disease Prevention

Continuing medical education (CME) courses can be instrumental in helping medical professionals, especially those in primary care settings, help patients with chronic disease prevention. It is the responsibility of providers to give patients the tools necessary to reduce preventable diseases.

Identifying At-Risk Patients

Many of the risk factors associated with chronic disease are also sensitive issues for patients. For example, socioeconomic level, race, and weight are related to the development of chronic diseases and it can be difficult addressing these concerns with patients in a tactful manner. Medical professionals can learn methods of addressing their concerns with patients without seeming biased or making patients feel embarrassed about their weight. Additionally, when socioeconomic factors are a concern, finding resources within the community to assist patients in making lifestyle changes can be a way for providers to take a proactive approach with patients who have fewer resources.

Basic Nutrition Counseling

Whenever possible, providers should offer their patients a referral for nutrition counseling, but it does not mean they are absolved from conveying basic information to their patients. In some instances, the primary care environment might be the only resource available for patients to have good nutrition information. Physicians should make an effort to educate all patients, especially those more at risk for developing chronic diseases, about eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Generally, doctors may be afforded limited time with each patient, so other healthcare workers, such as nurses, should be made available to spend more time with patients. You can also purchase or create handouts and other materials to send home with patients.

Encourage Routine Testing

When patients do not see their doctors regularly or have other health problems, it is easy for them to fall through the cracks and not receive critical annual tests or follow-ups for abnormal results. Staying abreast of changes in preventative care not only means you may be more diligent in ordering tests for each patients, but you can be reminded of changes in guidelines. For example, there may be changes in what is considered a normal blood pressure for patients or when blood glucose levels are considered borderline. Since the best-practices for screening patients can change at any time, you may change your approach to screening at-risk patients or prescribe medications earlier.

There will always be changes in the best ways to prevent chronic disease as we become more knowledgeable about the effectiveness of different approaches. CME courses for preventing chronic disease can improve patient outcomes, especially in the primary care setting where chronic diseases are usually identified and treated.

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