When facing health care decisions, patients benefit from knowing all of their treatment options. That’s why Grand Rapids-based Priority Health has added transparent, easy-to-understand information to its Web site, priorityhealth.com, about more than a dozen surgeries that have regional variations in their frequency.

Researchers at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice have demonstrated that treatments for many conditions vary from one region of the country to another. In many cases, patients may be more likely to have surgery just because they live in an area within Michigan where surgical treatments are more prevalent. That’s why it is important for patients to become knowledgeable and not allow their ZIP codes to increase their likelihood of surgery.

“Patients who are fully informed and fully understand their options tend to choose different, more conservative treatments than their doctors recommend,” said John Fox, M.D., associate vice president of Medical Affairs for Priority. “Our focus is trying to make sure our members have access to the information they need to make the decision that is right for them.”

To assist its members in getting the best health results by becoming fully informed about their treatment options, Priority Health has added Smart Health Facts to priorityhealth.com about common surgical treatments. They succinctly describe various surgeries, their risks and treatment alternatives that may help members avoid the inconvenience, risk and expense of surgery. Smart Health topics include:

Back surgery
       Knee arthroscopy
   Knee replacement
   Shoulder replacement
Ear tube surgery
Gallbladder surgery
   Upper GI endoscopy (EGD)
Hip replacement
   Weight-loss surgery (bariatric)
In addition, for Priority Health members only, the Smart Health facts link to expert, in-depth information from WebMD as well as the Priority Health online surgery decision-support tool that’s helped thousands of Priority Health members explore their treatment options and find tips for preparing for, and recovering from, necessary surgery.

Priority Health offers a broad portfolio of products for employer groups, individuals and Medicare and Medicaid, serving more than 600,000 people.



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