Sunday, February 3, 2013

Feedback


Are you watching the Super Bowl today? I’m not a big sports fan and I must confess that I’d rather watch a Little League game. 

Regardless of age or sport, athletes rely on the advice of their coach to improve their game and the feedback needs to be immediate.  Can you imagine what would happen, if an athlete made a mistake, but the coach didn’t tell him until three months later?  That may sound a bit ludicrous, but it’s the approach that some health care providers use.  A friend with a family history of high cholesterol worked diligently to reduce her level.    She was anxious to learn if her efforts had been successful, but waited over a month before receiving a phone message that her last test showed no change in her cholesterol level.  It took two more weeks to get an appointment to discuss what could be done to improve those results.    I watched her initial enthusiasm dim, as she waited for results and advice.

With today’s technology, no one should have to wait that long.  Many screening clinics already use this equipment for testing and so should your doctor.   Then action can be taken to manage or treat a condition immediately and your doctor can answer your questions, while you are still in the office.   I was familiar with equipment that provides immediate results for cholesterol and blood glucose levels, but recently learned about MedGem® calorimeters, equipment that tests your metabolic rate.  Nutritionists, trainers and other health care professionals can use this information to develop individualized weight loss programs and counsel their patients.  The device is easy to use, simply requiring the patient to breath into the small hand-held device.  Best of all, the feedback is immediate.  Thermometers, scales and blood pressure cuffs have long been accepted as standard equipment for health care providers.  Let's hope that other immediate feedback equipment soon becomes just as common in your doctor's office.

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