The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has long monitored the use of clinical preventive services to provide public health agencies, health care providers and their partners information needed to plan and implement programs that increase use of these services and improve the health of the U.S. population. As members of the DMU community know, better use of clinical preventive services could prevent tens of thousands of deaths each year. CDC leaders add that health care reform, which expands health insurance coverage and increases access to preventive services, offers new opportunities to “promote and improve use of these valuable and life-saving services.”
Boy, do we need that: A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Supplement on the Use of Selected Clinical Preventive Services Among Adults, which examines use of these services in the U.S. from 2007 to 2010, reveals that “tens of millions of people in the United States have not been benefiting from key preventive clinical services, and that there are large disparities by demographics, geography, and health care coverage and access in the provision of these services.”
The supplement notes that improved clinical management of selected clinical preventive services – including blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation – “could save approximately 100,000 lives each year” by significantly reducing risk for cardiovascular disease, “our nation’s killer.” Patients who receive such interventions on a timely basis often can avoid more costly treatment involved in more advanced disease states.
Improved quality of life, greater human productivity and lower health care costs represent the power of preventive care. Lack of education on its importance, lack of access and growing demand for primary care providers are just some of the challenges.
What are your views on the power of preventive care and the barriers people face in getting it?