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Medical Screening and Prevention

Posted Sep 08 2011 9:01pm

At eklimek's gentle request, I am complying with two links to significant documents--one is a letter from the US Congressional Budget Office regarding potential cost of prevention and wellness programs and the other is an article from the New England Journal of Medicine which discusses screening and prevention for various disease entities. Both are worth the read. You may have already read them but worth digging up again.

There is a third article worth reading that is honest and transparent about the value of screening. I originally came across it on KevinMD.

I keep reminding myself that Columbus had a rough time too...going against the standard dogma of the day  and calling the world round didn't make things easy for him nor was the ultimate voyage..but look where it got him!

It is uncomfortable to say that prevention won't save health care dollars when many experts are talking about the savings that we'll be able to generate if we could just have everybody riding bikes and eating sprouts (minus the e. coli) while the provider inputs their most sensitive personal information into their EMR. The public laps it up.

Don't get me wrong--I preach good sleep, eating and exercise habits and advise on healthy behavior, vaccines etc. There is value in preventative medicine for the individual...but it won't save health care dollars.

The way to save health care dollars through prevention is for individuals to take more responsibility for their health and to be respectful of the health of others. That is a tall order and I suppose we must start with expectations. But we do need a plan B I think once ehealth fails to deliver (and actually costs a ton of money) and when prevention doesn't bring down costs. What will it be?

If we want to find solutions, we must first be able to identify the problems.

Please see the comments section for the two links.

Once again, thanks to all of you for your loyal readership and I'm putting in another prod to encourage you to try Twitter!



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