Study: Preventive services can save lives, billions of dollars, at little or no cost
Partnership for Prevention
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Sept. 7, 2010 – Preventive health services such as daily aspirin use, tobacco cessation screening and alcohol abuse screening can potentially save 2 million lives and nearly $4 billion annually, according to a new paper produced by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP). The NCPP is convened by the Partnership for Prevention. Four of the five lead authors perform research with HealthPartners Research Foundation.
The paper, “Greater Use Of Preventive Services In U.S. Health Care Could Save Lives At Little Or No Cost,” is published in the September issue of Health Affairs (see the full article here). Its authors analyzed the estimated cost of adopting a package of 20 proven preventive services against the savings that could be generated. They also estimated how much in health care costs would have been saved in a given year if 90 percent of the population had used those services. For 2006, the year selected, the savings were estimated at $3.7 billion.
“By quantifying the many lives saved and high cost-effectiveness of clinical preventive services, our study shows that prevention has really gone the extra mile, meeting a standard rarely met by health treatments. The new health care law appropriately makes these services available for most Americans at lower or no cost, but cost reductions alone won’t get us there. We now need health purchasers, insurers, and providers to make every effort to improve their delivery and educate the public about these life-saving preventive services,” said Robert J. Gould, PhD, President and CEO, Partnership for Prevention.
Most of the savings came from three services: tobacco cessation screening and assistance; discussing daily aspirin use; and alcohol screening with brief counseling. The authors determined that those three services plus colorectal cancer screening each would have contributed more than 100,000 years of life if 90 percent of the population had participated.
“People talk about the importance of prevention, and this study shows that a significant number of recommended clinical preventive services save lives and sometimes save money,” said Eduardo Sanchez, chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities. “The findings are based on a systematic analysis, and they show that different services have different value. Decision makers should use the information to help them identify and even prioritize the most health impactful and cost-effective services for improving health and reducing disparities.”
The authors of the paper from the HealthPartners Research Foundation are: Leif Solberg, MD, senior investigator and director for care improvement research; Michael Maciosek, research investigator; Thomas J. Flottemesch, research associate; and Nichol Edwards, research project manager. Ashley Coffield is the fifth author. Previously, she was a principal fellow with Partnership for Prevention.
The full paper is available on the Partnership for Prevention website, www.prevent.org.
Partnership for Prevention
Partnership for Prevention is a national non-profit membership organization comprised of leaders in the business community, non-profit organizations, and local and state government advancing evidence-based prevention in policies and practices. Founded in 1991, Partnership seeks to create a “prevention culture” in America, where the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, based on the best scientific evidence, is the first priority for policy makers, decision makers and healthcare practitioners who can make a difference in this area.
National Commission on Prevention Priorities
The National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP) is an advisory body that seeks to improve the nation’s health by providing information for decision makers on high-value, evidence-based preventive services. Established by Partnership for Prevention, the Commission includes experts in clinical and community prevention who provide guidance for NCPP research projects. They also offer strategic direction for developing and disseminating research results. Members include federal, state, and local government officials; university researchers; health plan executives; and other leaders from public and private organizations.
HealthPartners Research Foundation
The HealthPartners Research Foundation (www.hprf.org) is part of the HealthPartners family of care. Conducting about 250 research projects each year, HPRF is dedicated to discovering and accelerating the use of knowledge to improve the health and health care of our members, patients and the community. Founded in 1957, HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) is the nation’s largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization, providing care, coverage, research and education for 1.25 million medical and dental health plan members nationwide.