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Why Quality Trumps Quantity for Seniors’ Health Care

As we get older, our health care needs change. According to the AARP, chronic conditions are on the rise and more than 70 million people age 50 and older have at least one chronic condition.

But according to a recent Forbes article, older adults may be getting too much medical care and our health care system may not be putting the focus where it should be.

Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute, a Washington-DC based organization that focuses on economic and social policy, says in the article that our health care system focuses too much on aggressive treatment when it’s too late. Instead, these medical interventions should be replaced with more personalized care. The goal, he stresses, should be on improving older adults’ quality of life, rather than just treating a specific medical condition.

Some doctors are so focused on doing their due diligence that they tend to overprescribe or order unnecessary tests just to confirm or deny a diagnosis. In some ways, this is admirable. However, it leads to a lot of extra health care spending that could be better used for programs and services that have a significant impact on improving seniors’ everyday lives.

“Even as many people get too much medical treatment, many receive too little assistance with those daily activities that can improve their lives,” Gleckman writes. As he states, “more treatment doesn’t necessarily equal better care.”

We have to put quality above quantity. We need to focus on seniors’ quality of life — not just what medications they need to treat a specific ailment. We can prolong people’s lives with treatment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re living a good one.

This is why MetroHealth focuses on coordinated care. We work with other care providers across disciplines and specialties to give each patient the best care and treatment possible. Our goal is to have seniors be as independent as possible and live younger.

The conversation about over-treatment is an important one. We need to listen to what seniors want for their medical care. Yes, doctors are the professionals, but patients play an active role in their health care. We should work with them as partners, rather than just as patient and doctor. lisinopril

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