Family Physicians main skill is to be able to carry out preventive health care. We use evidence-based medicine to focus on how to best prevent heart attacks, to find cancer early and to prevent infectious diseases through immunization.
During the past 3 years many studies were developed – by economists mainly- about the cost- effect of preventive medicine on relation with curative medicine.
But the thing is, all those studies were based on the wrong question: “does prevention save money to health care systems?”
They, intentionally or not, made the studies without separating concepts. There are 3 types of prevention:
– Primary prevention, before any disease exists. Providing education on adequate nutrition since birth date, to avoid sugar intake and its possible future consequences is an example.
– Secondary prevention: indications to stop the progression of already existing conditions, as part of its treatment, like exercise plan in an obese patient or salt restrictions in a person with high blood pressure.
– Tertiary prevention is reducing the natural impact of a disease and avoiding complications like programmed searching for kidney function problems in every diabetic patient to detect damage in early stages.
They did focus on the costs of screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies to detect cancer in suspected or at risk people. Also on the costs of certain campaigns not well directed as the developers didn’t focus on people who really needed it. So yes, that costs money, but tell the truth, early detection is not primary prevention!
What if all of them, focused on monetary aspects of health processes, start solving the main question of ‘’what’s the most cost-effective way to improve population health”, instead of working for the discredit of that effective approach that is health prevention?
Health Education saves lives!
Vaccination saves lives!
Smoking cessation saves lives!
Healthy lifestyles save lives!
Prevention saves lives!
How do you quantify the value of a saved life? What if that life is yours?