Preventive Health Care - It's Time to Get the Show on the Road
Preventive health services such as smoking cessation advice and assistance, early mental health and substance abuse counseling, and influenza immunizations are the types of services that should be medically covered says the BC Medical Association in a paper released today. Nearly any medical service that prevents, delays, or reduces the impact of disease and disability can be defined as prevention.
In its policy paper, Partners in Prevention: Implementing a Lifetime Prevention Plan, the BC Medical Association says that a lifetime prevention plan - a series of preventive health services individually tailored to each patient during their lifetime - that has as its cornerstone a partnership between physician and patient has the best chance of success.
Determining which clinical prevention services should be provided to British Columbians goes hand in hand with how best to deliver those services. Research has shown that the most effective method of providing preventive services is within the medical setting. And the best trained person to deliver the clinical prevention services offered under the lifetime prevention plan is the physician.
"The goal would be to choose prevention strategies according to best available scientific data and offer those that provide the greatest value to the health care system and to the patient," said Dr. Lloyd Oppel, co-author of the paper.
The paper provides ten recommendations regarding the scope of prevention services and eight commitments regarding the lifetime prevention plan.
Key recommendations include:
The physician should be the clinician responsible for the delivery and/or coordination of prevention services
Funding should come not from MSP, but from the joint BCMA-government committees of the General Practice Services Committee, the Specialist Services Committee and the Shared Care Committee
A Clinical Prevention Working Group, that includes physicians and patients, should be established to determine the clinical prevention services that will be provided based on clinical effectiveness, potential population health impact, and cost-effectiveness.
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