Preventive healthcare deals with disease prevention to reduce disease burden and related risk factors. Preventive measures can be implemented at every stage of life and along the spectrum of diseases to prevent further decline over time.
This article highlights the different levels of prevention, offers examples of preventive guidelines, and addresses some of the controversies in population and public health disciplines.
- Prevention levels
- Preventive recommendations examples
- Preventive Care Division
Chronic diseases are the world’s leading cause of death and disability and are associated with increased costs for health. Preventive care is promoted within the context of a population health approach and includes both clinical prevention and screening.
Downstream identification and avoidance of potential problems is one strategy to control the use and improve health outcomes.
The primary prevention level is a population health approach characterized as the measures taken to prevent future health hazards and reduce those factors that are known to increase the risk of disease. Instead of individual risk factors, the broad determinants of health are addressed. Examples of primordial prevention initiatives include improving health, promoting healthy childhood lifestyles, and developing green energy approaches.
Primary prevention prevents chronic disease by reducing development risk factors. One type of primary prevention is risk reduction through behavioral or exposure changes. Examples include reducing cardiovascular risk by changing lifestyles like food and not smoking.
Another way to prevent disease is to increase resistance to disease exposure through vaccination (e.g., influenza and pneumonia vaccines, along with childhood vaccines). Some of these prevention techniques involve the participation of individuals and others are passive. Typically, primary prevention focuses on specific risk factors for certain diseases.
Secondary prevention involves pre-clinical change detection and treatment. Screening procedures are often the first step that leads to early and cheaper procedures. The screening process is the joint responsibility of the person and their healthcare professionals with an emphasis on the involvement of the patient.
Tertiary prevention-focused only on disease reversal, arrest or delay is a clinical matter. It helps to reduce the impact of the disease on the life of the patient. In many roles and settings, the patient has more contact with the health system and providers.
The figure below is an example of osteoporosis prevention levels:
Preventive recommendations examples
There are several good sources of evidence-based recommendations that healthcare providers around the world can access. Examples include the United States. The Canadian Preventive Care Task Force (CTFPC), a group of independent experts seeking recommendations on preventive care, including testing, based on available evidence.
The CTFPC’s Red Book, which includes recommendations for lifecycle screening and prevention, includes examples of relevant references. A recent campaign, called Choosing Wisely, includes a starter kit and a searchable site with lists of commonly used tests in which there is insufficient evidence to support their use and/or can cause unnecessary harm to patients.
Preventive Care Division
Prevention is a deterrent or a stop to the development of a disease that has already begun. The separation of public and medical roles in the spectrum of disease prevention and treatment leads to a lack of coordination in preventive care.
For example, in public health, populations may look like all residents in the geographical area, while clinicians can see populations as being solely cared for, which blurs the line between the disease risk and disease itself, as well as between prevention and treatment.
Why is preventive care important?
Preventive care tends to reduce healthcare costs in America by the prevention or treatment of diseases before emergency care is required.
Hospital treatment is very costly, representing one-third of all healthcare expenses in America. 21.4% of adults visited an emergency room in 2010 or more. By 2017, this was down to 18.6%.
Adults without affordable access to preventive services are more likely to use their primary care provider’s emergency department.
In 2014, 7.0% of adults 18-64 years old went because they didn’t have any other way to go for their health benefits, irrespective of their health status (this includes those who were sent by their doctor). And 15.4 percent of uninsured adults are expected to use the emergency room because other services do not have access to it.
The cost of the emergency room can be exceedingly high for the uninsured. Hospitals must offer care, even though the patient cannot afford to pay for the services he or she wants.
Since these expenses must be recovered from elsewhere in the hospital, they are relocated to health insurance and Medicaid. This raises healthcare costs for everyone.
Impact of Preventative Care on Health Care Costs
Four out of the five leading causes of death are caused by chronic diseases that are either preventable or likely to be manageable with regular access to health care:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lower respiratory disease
Heart and strokes are largely due to inadequate nutrition and obesity. The most common form of lung cancer is mostly due to smoking and genetic factors. Obesity is also a risk factor for other popular cancer types.
These chronic illnesses are expensive to treat long before they hit emergency room status. In the United States, 90% of the annual healthcare expenses of $3.5 trillion are for people with chronic and psychiatric conditions.
The medications, screenings, visits to a doctor, or the drug needed to control these conditions cannot be made available to patients without preventive services or medication coverage. If they break off, they end up with heart attacks, strokes, and other problems in the emergency room.
When patients have daily access to affordable preventive care, they are more likely to discover and treat their chronic illnesses. This decreases the risk of both hospital visits and more costly care for diseases that have advanced by routine management.
If this drops, the total healthcare costs drop for everyone, since the expense of uninsured patients is not included in hospitals.
As the famous saying says, “Prevention is better than cure,” we always suggest you take the necessary steps to get rid of diseases and to be healthy. This involves continuous health screening in clinics and hospitals by full-body tests at regular intervals.
Health insurance providers and health care services across the country have a range of plans on “preventative health check-up packages.” These are available for people who seek daily health checks. It not only helps policyholders diagnose possible diseases and take necessary steps and precautions.
These types of packets are vital for critical diseases as the early identification of certain diseases is very important in order to be adequately handled and treated. In addition, preventive health checks should also take into account the family history of the patient. The risk of disease development dependent on genetic disorders and other associated factors is helpful in accessing.
Persons can use the results of these preventive health checks to lead their lifestyles. It definitely improves the quality of their lives and helps them to live much healthier lives. Here is a list of such types of care packages that can encourage people to take the pro-active approach and look at their wellbeing beforehand.
References & External Links:
- Population Health: An Implementation Guide to Improve Outcomes and Lower Costs
- The Stages of Prevention
- Health promotion and disease prevention through population-based interventions, including action to address social determinants and health inequity
- Primary Prevention of Osteoporosis: Time to Redefine the Wheel?