A new study from the Journal of American Medicine: Ophthalmology shows that all types of visual impairments are associated with a higher risk of dementia. Between 12 and 32% of individuals with visual impairments are also diagnosed with dementia. This variation in the prevalence is due to the range in severity of visual conditions, which is typically associated with poorer outcomes. This study also found a stronger connection between having multiple visual impairments and developing dementia as compared to having just one visual impairment.
Such findings help further emphasize the importance of preventive care in the realm of vision screenings and beyond. The loss of vision and other sensory functions such as hearing can prove incredibly disorienting. This is why, in many cases, older adults with impaired vision or hearing also demonstrate a decline in cognition if they do not make adjustments to their environment.
Vision and hearing tests are just two examples of preventive care screenings that can play a pivotal role in members’ overall health. Preventive care should be viewed as a long-term approach rather than a one-time offering. For this reason, insurers and health care provider networks alike should partner up to offer a wider range of coverage for these services. Any organizations who want to place more focus on preventive care coverage and other basic offerings can follow a few steps:
- Make coverage information readily available to all subscribers. This includes lists of what practitioners are in their provider networks along with any services that are available free of charge.
- Supplement benefits information with a summary of the latest research related to the aforementioned services. Emphasize the breadth of evidence available to lead subscribers toward preventive action.
- Educate subscribers on risk factors that make preventive screenings even more important.
- Remain in touch with subscribers’ needs by regularly evaluating their stressors, priorities, and overall health goals.
- Offer multiple options and methods for preventive care to make screenings convenient for members.
- Provide education-based programming that emphasizes good health habits.
Before taking action on the above points, the first necessary step is to ensure your provider network is bulletproof. If you need help strengthening your existing provider network or feel that a new network altogether is the best move for your organization, contact TOG Network Solutions.