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Improving or Maintaining Physical Health

Clinical Basis

Multiple factors impact this important and heavily weighted measure, which is captured from the HOS. The HOS question about pain has the highest impact on the score. The other drivers are self-rated health and mobility. Changes are measured over a two-year period.

We recommend a thorough assessment of the above factors as part of the annual wellness exam. Staying active is perhaps the single most important factor in maintaining health. Remaining active improves mobility, reduces pain and improves mood. The mental health of patients is also a factor because the emotional well-being impacts how they perceive their health, how they experience pain and the likelihood of staying active. See Improving or Maintaining Mental Health on page 11.

Improving or Maintaining Physical Health Figure 1

Clinical Guidelines

  • Assess and treat pain. Understand how pain is impacting daily activities. See Pain Assessment on page 19.
  • Conduct a Functional Status Assessment to understand whether daily activities are limited by their health in any way (see page 18).
  • Talk to your patients about their level of physical activity and encourage them to start, maintain or increase activity as appropriate.
  • Consider “prescribing” physical activity for your patients.
  • Instruct patients on physical activities, such as:
  • Walking, building up to 30 minutes daily. If it’s easier for patients, this can be spread across three 10-minute periods throughout the day.
  • Activities to improve balance (e.g., Tai Chi)
  • Exercises they can do in their own home (e.g., in a chair and in front of the TV)
  • Stretching
  • Consider physical therapy for patients with pain and other functional impairments.
  • Follow up and encourage patients to continue being active..

HOS Tip Sheet (PDF)

Associated Codes

1125F - Pain severity quantified; pain present

1126F - Pain severity quantified; no pain present


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