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: 4.97). 01/2009; 28(1):37-41. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.1.37
Source: PubMed


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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    • "One of the most pressing challenges for health communication researchers, health organizations, governments and health practitioners is finding effective ways to inform and persuade people to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. This is a focal point for public health disease prevention research and promotion activities, because effective communication strategies can contribute to improved health outcomes, which can ultimately contribute to financial and human resource savings (Goetzel, 2009). Communication for cancer prevention has shown to be effective in improving cancer control (Neuhauser & Kreps, 2008;O'Hair, Kreps, & Sparks, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world. Mortality from breast cancer can be reduced if the cancer is detected early enough. It is important to find effective communication that encourages early detection of breast cancer. This study aimed to measure differences between narrative and didactic communication on breast cancer awareness, knowledge of appropriate diagnostic exams, attitude toward breast self-exam, and intention to screen for breast cancer through a breast self-exam. It further aimed to test whether any differences in outcomes were associated with the format used to deliver the communication: video or infographic. The effects of the communication strategies were tested using an experimental design with a control group and four experimental groups: narrative video, didactic video, narrative infographic, or didactic infographic. A total of 194 Italian-speaking women ages 18-30 years completed questionnaires before and after exposure. Positive increases were found for all outcome variables after exposure to any communication strategy tested. The didactic message delivered in video format had the most positive effect on awareness and knowledge, whereas the narrative video message had the most positive effect on attitude and intention. For both message types, videos had a more positive influence than infographics when communicating breast cancer information for this audience. This was the first study of message effects of breast cancer communication with Italian-speaking young women. Further research is warranted to understand how to maximize communication strategies so that they are the most effective in influencing behaviors and if these results are consistent with other linguistic populations.
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    ABSTRACT: The United States future economic stability directly depends on its citizen’s health. Helping Americans maintain their health is crucial in ensuring health care cost stay down and our workforce remains competitive in the global economy. Investing in keeping employees healthy will not only spare them from needless suffering, but also save billions of dollars in preventable sickness and injuries. A large corporation located in the state of Pennsylvania is actively attempting to reduce employees’ health risk by implementing a worksite wellness program aimed towards preventing lifestyle related illness. The value of these programs have been promoted by a number of public health and economic researchers who studies show that programs targeted in the workplace are efficient and effective tools in reducing health care cost. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a large employer’s wellness program in reducing lifestyle related health care claims and capturing the employee population that has the potential of using health care services at a higher rate; define cost-saving opportunities and demonstrate the value of maintaining this program in the future. Methods: Literature Review, subjects taken from observed company’s employee population and limited to all benefits eligible employees. T-test analysis comparing mean health care dollars spent on lifestyle related claims between three employee participation groups (full, partial, or no participation) for three years of the program. Chi-squared analysis was performed to assess differences in level of participation between three independent factors: gender of employees, employee status (for example: full-time salaried or full-time hourly), and type of insurance (i.e. Blue Cross/Blue Shield vs. Cigna). Results: No statistical significance was found between participation groups and their lifestyle related health claims. However, by examining raw mean dollars an approximate $600-$800 per employee was saved by implementing the worksite wellness program in years one and three. Significance was also found between gender group, employee status, and most often employees’ type of insurance. Conclusion: Taking the literature review at face value, wellness programs are desirable tools for companies looking to reduce their health care expenditures while creating a worksite culture of health and excellence. The results of this study came to similar conclusions revealing hundreds of dollars of savings, incentive strategies that increased participation and targeting groups that can assist the company in realizing even more health care cost savings.
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