Prevention As Primary Healthcare

Prevention As Primary Healthcare

Jan 17, 2010

It is hard to meet anyone nowadays who does not know someone who suffers from chronic illness of some type. According to a study performed by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 50% of Americans has a chronic medical condition, chronic illnesses cause 70% of deaths in the United States and generate 75% of the total health care costs in the United States annually.1 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have at least two.2 Our antiquated healthcare system is struggling to deal with these facts, yet things only seem to be going from bad to worse. Patients are unhappy. Doctors are unhappy. Our approach doesn’t seem to be solving the problem and some argue that it may even be worsening it. Nobody is winning.

So where do we go from here? Taking the same approach to the problem and expecting a different outcome is not an option. Modifying the payment system (aka the current healthcare reform efforts) may help to temporarily alleviate the symptoms of our ailing system, but it obviously won’t address the cause. How can we dig deeper as individuals, as a nation, to reverse the disturbing trends surrounding chronic healthcare? I suggest that we look further back in the chain of cause.

The CDC notes that “Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.”3 Common, costly and preventable! The CDC goes on to state that “Four modifiable health risk behaviors-lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption-are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.”4 I wonder if we might be so bold as to consider a new approach to primary healthcare, one that emphasizes prevention (before) over intervention (after).

Where do we start? I have some ideas, but I’d love to hear from you. As with so many challenging situations, the tools and resources are available and at hand. Intelligent and courageous practitioners, brilliant educators, eager patients, incredible scientific advances, a rich and deep legacy of healing traditions and the list goes on! But how can we put the pieces together – in a different order – so that the parts once again relate to the harmonious and healthy working of the whole?

by Gregg Hake | CEO, Energetix

  1. Chronic Care in America: A 21st Century Challenge, a study of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Partnership for Solutions: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (September 2004 Update). “Chronic Conditions: Making the Case for Ongoing Care” []
  2. The Growing Burden of Chronic Disease in American, Public Health Reports / May-June 2004 / Volume 119, Gerard Anderson, PhD []
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm []
  4. Ibid. []

6 comments

  1. Prevention is definitely what alternative health is all about, as well as bringing the ill body back to homeostasis.
    I would like to see Energetix come up with a good Nutrition and Weight Management Program, that would be easy for the practitioner to implement into a practice, as well as easy for clients to comply to and see healthy changes from.

  2. Interest and investment in prevention as primary healthcare or “integrative medicine” is growing rapidly. I find Duke Integrative Medicine’s efforts to be quite interesting, as well as the work of the Bravewell Collaborative. Education for doctors and patients will certainly be a key component of this new approach to wellness.

  3. Linda Benson /

    I totally believe that prevention would have a huge impact on the huge numbers of people who are diagnosed with serious illnesses. I have been giving a lot of thought to this – especially since I am interested in making a career change that would allow me to tackle some of these very issues, but I struggle with where to start. There are 2 key elements that I think are fundamental to this – one is all about food – and the choices we make, battling what we like vs. what we know we should be eating. The other is basic education and awareness about the impacts of what we eat on our body and our health (and this includes information on where our food comes from). I know there are other factors affecing our overall wellness, but these are the ones that I keep coming back to…

  4. This morning in my quiet time a phrase came to me. My business is called Activate Wellness Naturally and I’ve been working on tag lines.
    “A process of healing or a lifestyle for prevention.”
    Just thought I would share!

  5. Nancy Woodruff /

    I think of “prevention” as important to, and recognized by, all types of health care whether alternative/natural/holisitc or allopathic/drug.

    I prefer the phrase “natural healing as primary care”. Homeopathy, botanicals, nutrition, acupuncture and the manual therapies are medicinal and can be used as interventions, in addition to being wonderful prevention.

  6. I am currently just beginning a launch of prevention seminars. The interest level and attendance are high!

    Those who realize that they must educate themselves to true prevention (not just doctors visits, and shots) will be on the road that leads to experiencing health and longer life.

    As they discover how their bodies were created to regenerate, they also find hope for their situation and a renewed outlook on their life.

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