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Why is Preventive Medicine So Rare?

admin - August 28, 2013

preventive medicine & health screenings

Study after study points to the importance of preventative medicine for healthy lives. In the United States, the preventive healthcare gap is growing, especially when compared to European nations. If the benefits of preventive medicine are so abundant and well-known, why is it so rarely emphasized?

This topic was addressed in a recent Huffington Post article titled “Disease Prevention Celebrated But Rarely Practiced.” It discusses how preventative healthcare has the ability to limit the development and severity of many health conditions, yet the problem for many medical providers is convincing the patient that taking the precautions now will result in a positive effect in the future.

This situation also touches on many psychological issues that healthcare providers must address, such as:

  1. How can you convince someone of a potential hazard when it is not currently seen or felt?
  2. How do you make a significant enough impression to a healthy individual that the health they are enjoying may not last?
  3. How do you approach chronic health conditions and mortality in a way that will encourage the appropriate behavior without causing fear, avoidance, and denial?

With a distinct lack of drama involved in preventative medicine, it’s easy for people to neglect the opportunity to fully utilize practices to ensure their chances for better health at later dates. For example, it’s much more dramatic to treat cancer than it is to prevent it from developing in the first place with a HPV vaccine.

Too often people will wait until the moment in which their symptoms become overwhelming. No longer able to handle the pain or dysfunction, and with their lifestyle or physical ability now impacted, the person is spurred to seek medical care.

So, what can be done to promote preventive medicine? Harvey Fineberg, president of the U.S. Institute of Medicine, suggests a few ways:

  • Involving employers to promote health in the workplace and provide incentives to employees to maintain healthy practices.
  • Using a policy to reinforce choices that favor disease prevention.
  • Embedding prevention in popular culture.

“Some countries have done an excellent job with preventive strategies,” said Fineberg in the Huffington Post article. “Finland dramatically reduced its burden of cardiac disease…through a concerted program focused on the major cardiac risk factors.”

Placing a higher emphasis on disease prevention can have a positive impact on health – we’ve witnessed the benefits. Life Line Screening stands behind the notion that now is the time to push preventive medicine and keep people healthier before they get sick.

Learn more about Life Line Screening now.


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