HealthLinks Charleston Nov/Dec 2022

www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 85 to see their patients who need them the most. It would be easier to get appointments with specialists, because they wouldn’t be as bogged down with as many patients all at once. “I think that with the positive outcomes and with our schedules not being as crazy, it would definitely add to a doctor’s quality of life. Before value-based health care, I was seeing double the amount of patients I see now in a day. It’s difficult to give optimal care in situations like that.” She explained that with value-based health care, primary care doctors have the time for critical thinking, and they can review literature on likely diagnoses and treatments, leaving the most critical scenarios to the specialists. And then there is the issue with recruiting doctors. Dr. DeCastro said value-based health care helps with that as well. “We’ve all heard of the shortage of people wanting to go into primary care,” she explained. “That’s real. We need more primary care doctors, especially as the senior population increases. I think with value-based health care being incentivized to have patients with more positive outcomes, it is helping with recruitment.” She added, “Everyone worries about the cost of health care. We all hold our breath as we open invoices or wait at the pharmacy for that mystery co-pay. But change is on the horizon. We are seeing those first steps in ensuring patients receive quality health care. They want that relationship with a care team. Patients shouldn’t have to pay extra for better access and more time. We are finally seeing a new paradigm for our broken health care system as coverage increases for the most common chronic diseases that plague our country, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. You shouldn’t have to Google your symptoms to figure out what’s wrong with you. That’s our job.” Let’s not forget about the telehealth aspect of all this. Sure, COVID accelerated the use of telehealth, but, in Dr. DeCastro’s opinion, “you can tell a lot from a telehealth visit.” She said she would rather have a telehealth visit with patients than nothing at all. “We’ve come a long way. I think it’s great to use in many circumstances,” she pointed out, adding that she is enthusiastic about the future of telehealth in terms of patient monitoring. “I’m happy people are embracing it. It will only improve, and I think the next generation will use it even more. It’s actually pretty exciting.” The idea of value-based health care, with the primary care doctor at the helm of a team approach, could be the future of health care. It is not a quick solution or a change you will see overnight, but, over time, with less overall chronic illness, health care costs will inevitably go down. “We need to go back to the primary care doctor being the gatekeeper. It is time to stop doing what we can to just get by. We are already living longer. Let’s make those years good years – the best years yet by getting the best health care,” Dr. DeCastro said. C H A R L E S T ON COU N T Y M E D I C A L S OC I E T Y HealthLinks Charleston is a proud partner of the Charleston County Medical Society. For more information on joining CCMS, contact Dana Holladay at Imagine a world where a team of professionals – rather than just one general practitioner or specialist – makes your overall health their priority.