The healthcare system could use some help in getting patients more involved in preventive services.
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost one-half of adults in the United States were not receiving key preventive health services from a health care professional before 2010 – services such as screenings, consultations and prescription drug recommendations. (The 2010 date was the cutoff set by CDC in an effort to “provide baseline data prior to implementation” of the Affordable Care Act.)
This is distressing, since health professionals know that increased use of clinical preventive services could save tens of thousands of lives annually. (To read the CDC news release, click here.)
The Medivo database also confirms what the CDC found: many patients are not being monitored effectively. However, Medivo is working to simplify access to some monitoring and preventive measures with its innovative patient monitoring programs.
“Clinical preventive services prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer and other diseases and save lives,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., noted in the CDC statement. Frieden noted that the report provides “a snapshot of preventive services for U.S. adults before 2010. As we look to the future, we can track how our nation’s health is progressing through better prevention in health care.”
What the CDC study uncovered was some startling facts about under-utilization of common health services. The study, “Use of Selected Clinical Preventive Services Among Adults-United States, 2007-2010,” was designed to provide an in-depth look at the state of clinical preventive services that should be readily available to most adults.
These services, identified by CDC as public health priorities, were evaluated prior to the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The report offers baseline data on the use of specific preventive services, including aspirin or other blood-thinning therapy, controlling blood pressure, screening for and controlling high cholesterol, and ending tobacco use.
The report found:
* Guidelines for preventing high-blood pressure call for adults (ages 18 and older) with high blood pressure to receive a clinical treatment plan that might include medications and monthly follow-up visits until healthy blood pressure is achieved. However, only 44% of people with high blood pressure had it under control.
* Despite strong evidence that screening and treating for high cholesterol reduces sickness and death due to heart disease, about 33.4 percent of men and 25.6 percent of women were not screened during the preceding 5 years. Of those adults identified with high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, only about 32 percent of men and 32 percent of women had it under control.
* The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Health Interview Summary found that fewer than 1 in 13 tobacco users were prescribed medications during a doctor visit to help them stop tobacco use.
In its news release, CDC noted that is currently has many programs to address the shortcoming in utilization of preventive health services. They include: the Million Hearts initiative for effective treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco addiction. The initiative works to increase the number of clinicians who deliver appropriate counseling on the use of aspirin and other blood-thinning therapies for patients at high risk of heart attack or stroke.