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.

Male and female players in badminton mixed doubles match.

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.

Future vision

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.

References

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

  1. Thanks for sharing this article. You really did well by uploading this educating post. I agree that prevention is better than cure and so therefore one shouldn’t wait till a sickness put one down and now looking for cure. Example is a person eating lots of sugar and ended up having diabetes. An healthy living is essential in having a better life. What is the role of WHO (world health organisations) in ensuring people are sanitized and oriented on fact that there is need for prevention than cure? I await your response. 

    • Hi Acheivers,

      The WHO has many programs globally and locally but I believe many smaller organizations can reach the grassroots also. Healthcare organizations like hospitals, clinics and health insurance companies can launch campaigns towards healthy lifestyle and healthy nutrition. Everyone of us has a part to play.

      Thanks

      Olufemi

  2. Great article and excellent writeup about the future of healthcare and pharmaceuticals. I’ve airways wondered what the future would look like and each time I did there is an assurance that things are better in there than it is right now based on the advancing of researches and technologies everyday. This post really shed more light on my curiosities as well. Thanks for sharing such an information. 

  3. Hello Femi,

    I totally agree with you, and it’s not surprising to see why. A lot of money is invested in the healthcare industry, to treat people of disease, which were developed because of their lifestyle. Already, many people are being awakened to how they can prevent diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In future years, I expect the global population to become really sensitized on this topic, because choosing a healthy lifestyle is much better than treating a terminal illness.

    Thanks for this write up, without mincing words, prevention is really better than cure

  4. Yes, prevention is better, less expensive and easily gotten than cure. Personally, I regard it as the basic and most effective way of battling diseases.

    I am delighted through your article to find out that this is the directions taken by health institutes in the US and I can say that this is not only in the US but in other countries too.

    Moreover, the idea of giving rewards and incentives for healthy nutrition will establish the ideology where people strive towards disease prevention than trying to control it.

    Cheers.

    Sammy.

  5. Thanks for this interesting post,  indeed I agree with you It is better to stop something bad from happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened. Modern medicine is overwhelmingly reactive rather than proactive. Get sick, seek medical help. … It is better to prevent disease rather than to try to find cures for diseases after they occur.

  6. This subject of preventive medications has been a vital subject in the medical sector and it is quite worrying to see that a person that is at the risk of getting a particular illness cannot prevent it by taking medications but instead wait till he gets ill before he can receive medication. A very good example is malaria. The only preventive method of avoiding malaria is keeping the parasite away from your body physically, that is clearing of their breeding habitats or sleeping under mosquitoes nets. We are in 2019, there should a medication ready to fight the parasite when it comes into the body. 

    • Hi Mikay,

      One of the things I was happy about when I moved to the US was the fact that I would no longer have malaria attacks. You would think Malaria should have been eradicated by now but nobody seems interested in prevention. All we have to do is prevent the breeding of the anopheles mosquito which would break the cycle of the malaria parasite. Maybe help from the WHO, regional governments and educating communities would be a step in the right direction.

      Thanks

      Olufemi

  7. Thank you for sharing your insights.  It’s great to hear and read from a pharmacist that is interested in prevention of chronic degenerative diseases.  Something that I firmly believe in too.So I really appreciate hearing from someone as qualified in the field as you are!I would love to see the focus of the public health system to be on disease prevention and health protection rather than on treatment.  So I’m glad you’ve found many experts and authors who agree with this.I like your tips to start with healthy nutrition.Do you think there is enough nutrition in our foods?What role do you think that supplementation has as necessary or not to supplement the modern diet?And the role of supplements in disease prevention?Thank you

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. There is usually enough nutrition in our foods but this depends on what you mean by “our foods”. If you eat only process foods, then the answer is, maybe not. However, if you are thinking of raw fruits and vegetables, lightly cooked meals and a lot of variety, then I think every locality has nutritious foods. Sometimes you may just not be able to get enough nutrition from your diet and then it would be very advisable to take supplements but supplements should not take the place of good nutrition.

      Thanks again.

      Olufemi

  8. Hello, Tons of good information that is well detailed and will be of good help to your readers. I’m glad to know that measures is been taken by the experts to see that diseases are prevented so as to leave a healthy life. It is better to prevent disease rather than try to find cures for diseases after they occur.In my own opinion healthy food and disciplined lifestyles are cost effective and preventive measures than treatment for these disease.Thank you for sharing!

  9. I am also in healthcare and like you, I believe that prevention is better than cure. And it starts with practicing a healthy lifestyle. The thing is, although people know that a healthy diet, exercise, etc. are major factors in preventing health problems and diseases, they can’t be bothered to stick to them.

    I’m glad to hear that government and private sectors as well as other health organizations are now coming together, collaborating on how to develop and promote national campaigns that will focus on healthcare prevention and better healthcare services. That said, I believe that the future of healthcare is looking great.

    Thank you for the information.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this topic. I believe we are starting to see a shift in how mainstream views the term wellbeing. In social media, you see an increase in awareness of alternative medicine.  The popularity in essential oils, plant-based diet, and green living are on the rise. I feel that we are naturally moving towards preventive care. 

    Thanks for sharing,

    Jen

  11. Is prevention always better than cure? Many people agree with this saying but very less will take action to implement it. This starts with a healthy lifestyle such as food that you eat, things that you do and many more.

    Me myself took supplements on daily basis that help to boost my immune system which can reduce the chance of falling sick. Another things that i always done is went to the park every weekend and have  a healthy activity such as jogging or playing tennis with my friends.

    – Samm

  12. Hello, Olufemi.  This is an interesting post but I’ve just been wondering… I totally agree that prevention is the best way to save money.  Better health = lower health costs which would, in turn, cost taxpayers less.  But here’s the thing, we want people to be in better health and we know that proper diet and exercise is the answer.  But, how do we get people on board to make this happen?  

    The other question is… How do we get the people who make all the food we eat, get on board with this?

    It’s hard for some people to make good food choices.  In some cases the good food choices are too expensive, (organic foods, for example, are way more expensive than non-organic) for some to afford so they have to opt for more processed foods which are high in sugar or loaded with salt and unhealthy fats and ingredients we can’t even pronounce.

    Scientists and doctors have been trying to get people to eat right and exercise for decades and the obesity rate is even higher today than it was 20-30 years ago.

    Big food companies have to get on board with this as well and I just don’t see it happening.

    I would love for every man, woman, and child to get on board and live a healthy lifestyle but even with the initiatives and reward systems that may be implemented, I still wonder how successful it would be.

    I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about this.  It would be really great if this could happen.

    Wayne

     

    • Hi Wayne,

      Thanks for your comment. We just have to get the word out. I know it may seem difficult to eat healthy but it is more difficult to live when you are sick. We just have to make a change one person at a time. I noticed that it is sometimes cheaper to buy from produce stores and farmer’s markets. If you are worried about organic vs non-organic you can buy non-organic and remove the peel. This helps reduce most of the toxic residue you may be worried about.

      Thanks again

      Olufemi

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