Prevention is better and less expensive than cure
There is an old saying; “Prevention is better than cure”. I also believe prevention is less expensive than cure. One major change we can expect to see in healthcare within the next 5 years would be an increase in preventive healthcare.
In October 2013, the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) convened a multidisciplinary group of experts to evaluate forces shaping public health informatics (PHI) in the United States, with the aim of identifying upcoming challenges and opportunities. (Edmund, et al. 2014)
They analyzed and discussed the implications of different scenarios for the United States economy, health care system, and IT sector and their potential impacts on public health in the next 10 years (by 2023). It was expected that recommendations generated by the workshop would stimulate discussions and promote action by public and private sector stakeholders.
This would lead to increased investments in Public Health Informatics, increased access to existing and new forms of data, implementation of best practices and standards, and expanded inter agency collaborations to reduce the economic and social burdens resulting from poor health at the population level.
In line with the hopes of these experts we can expect to see public health initiatives where public health, public and private health care systems, insurers, employers, and city government agencies would share data to achieve population health goals, improve efficiency of service delivery, manage costs, promote health equity, and reduce health disparities.
The focus would be on disease prevention and health protection rather than on treatment. They would also develop and apply evidence-based preventive interventions that reduce disease, injury or disability.
As a forward thinking pharmacist, I can see a future where more emphasis is placed on evidence based healthy lifestyle and preventive medicine both at the individual and community level. Organizations would fund and participate in national campaigns geared toward healthy living and disease prevention.
There would also be rewards and greater incentives for healthy nutrition. This change would be managed by involving thought leaders in the communities at the early stages of implementation since what works in one community might not work in the next.
Edmunds, M., Thorpe, L., Sepulveda, M., Bezold, C., & Ross, D. A. (2014). The Future of Public Health Informatics: Alternative Scenarios and Recommended Strategies. eGEMs, 2(4), 1156. http://doi.org/10.13063/2327-9214.1156