Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Health Promotion to Forestall Death

I agree with the author of an article I just got around to reading: Improving Public Health Through Prevention.

Not only do we need access to healthcare and healthcare coverage for all, we need what the author calls “Universal Coverage PLUS”:
A high-performing national health-care system must also focus on the prevention of disease and promotion of optimal health for all its citizens…
The existing system focuses primarily on diseases -- once symptoms are well established and treatments are costly. The system needs to include a logic of targeting investments and interventions earlier in the evolution and development of diseases. Improvements in the natural, social, and built environments in which individuals live, as well as enhancements in diet, exercise, and lifestyle, can have a profound effect on health trajectories, adult medical needs, and the overall costs of care. Recalibrating our health system to address this undeniable reality will require more than universal coverage.

As I heard someone say recently we need to “make sure you are around for all the birthdays you possibly can”. To do that we must make certain everyone has access to medical care, not just episodic acute care in an ER but a long-term healthcare provider relationship with chronic disease diagnosis and management as needed. Along with that, we need to push folks to get healthy and stay healthy. We need to work on healthy communities and healthy environments so folks can get out and get healthy without the potential of others affecting their health and their new healthy lifestyle (i.e. with violence,etc.).

If the working for the common good isn’t enough of a reason for you, think of it as an investment in “human capital” (to borrow once again from the author).

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