Do Prevention Or Treatment Services Save Money? The Wrong Debate

Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.64). 01/2009; 28(1):37-41. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.1.37
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Health improvements and cost savings are achievable by providing targeted, evidence-based, and cost-effective health promotion and disease prevention programs that reduce modifiable risk factors, often the cause of costly chronic diseases. Adopting commonsense health practices does not require expensive technology, medication, specialty training, or elaborate treatment facilities. Instituting environmental, policy, and normative interventions, in addition to individual behavior change programs, can shift our thinking about how we pay for health. Employers' efforts in providing health promotion programs to their workers offer a microcosm of how prevention can lead to populationwide risk reduction and cost savings.

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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the thesis was to explore the issues surrounding the cost and implementation of prevention. Specifically, methods for determining cost-effectiveness and measuring the health benefits conferred from prevention were explored and services that have been determined to be cost-effective were discussed. Through interviews with health care professionals, administrators, and public health professors, perceptions of the benefits and costs of prevention were explored. Barriers to the implementation of prevention were discussed. The thesis concludes with suggestions on steps that health care providers and policy-makers can take to improve the health of the U.S. population through prevention.
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