Who Should Care About Preventive Care

I’ve seen lots of drug commercials on TV. There are medications for everything from erectile dysfunction to chronic dry eye to restless leg syndrome. Although, I haven’t seen the restless leg syndrome commercial in a while. I often wonder why there aren’t more commercials about preventing diseases. Not scare tactics like ‘don’t smoke or you will get lung cancer’, but real preventive care commercials.

With all the news and political debate surrounding health care, everyone seems to have a slightly different definition of Preventive Care. So…I “Googled” it. And according to Wikipedia—“Preventive medicine or preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, (or injuries) rather than curing them.” And just because I was curious I clicked on images to see what that might show. There were a lot of stethoscopes and a few pictures of apples. Remember ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ campaign from decades ago? But I wondered why all the stethoscopes? Maybe decades ago physicians had time to talk with patients about preventive care. But with a decrease in the time spent with each patient, there’s just enough time for the physician to write you a prescription for the very problem that sent you to him in the first place. And some don’t even do that, deferring to electronic methods and qualified RNs.

Maybe it’s time to turn up the volume on that ‘apple’ preventive care campaign and update it with all the new preventive care measures. Maybe it’s time to start seeing a new PCP, a Preventive Care Provider. Just image, while you are sitting in that waiting room waiting to see your doctor, a Preventative Care Provider calls you into a small office and goes over all the preventive care measures that can help keep you healthy. They are the person you see instead of just sitting in the waiting room reading about celebrities in People magazine or watching people look nervous about being in the doctor’s office.  Maybe there’s a profile created from your medical record that could identify things just for you based on your history and genetic profile - individualized care. Or maybe it’s simply a pharmaceutical-company-trained representative that provides information on things you can do to prevent you from going on drugs he’s selling. Maybe in exchange for meeting with the doctor to talk about their new indication, they are required to run educational clinics with the office, with short videos and patient materials, training patients on staying healthier, and not relying on the staff to pass this information on to the patients, whom they have no time to see. Now that’s a partnership a health plan or a physician’s practice should pursue with a pharmaceutical company.  Because reducing health care costs most certainly should start with a focus on preventive care. And who has more information on preventing a disease than those that have found a treatment or cure for the disease? Can’t wait to see the new commercials!



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