Preventive Care Benefits

If health is a road, traditional medicine can be thought of as the practice of repairing cars when they break down on the road. On the surface this seems simple; when a problem arises, you fix it. If a patient develops an infection, we give them antibiotics and support their immune system. If a patient breaks a bone, you straighten and fix it.

This reactive approach works to a certain extent, but there are significant problems with it. For example:

  • What happens if a patient doesn’t have a disease with an “easy fix”?
  • What happens when the capacity to fix problems is overwhelmed by the problems?
  • What happens when individual problems interact, so in order to solve one you have to solve many?

These issues have brought forth the need to adopt a different approach to healthcare: preventive care.

What is preventive care?

Preventive care (also known as preventative care) is the practice of using specific strategies to identify and prevent disease states before they occur, or at an early stage. If you take the example of a patient with a chronic disease, such as COPD or diabetes, there are several factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of getting that disease (such as their age, diet, socioeconomic standing, and family history).

By adopting a preventive care approach, you can identify patients who are at risk of certain diseases, or who may have early disease symptoms before they enter the later stages which would ordinarily be the point at which they are picked up in healthcare.

The overall effect is that fewer people develop diseases (because interventions can be done before they develop the disease) and those who do can be managed at an earlier stage. Utilising this proactive approach can reduce the overall disease burden; given the overwhelmed healthcare services, this is a vital component of a sustainable healthcare system. The overall approach can also bring forth the idea of the “life course approach” whereby different interventions can be put in place depending on the stage of life an individual is in [1]. 

What is considered preventive care?

Preventive healthcare can be thought of as proactive interventions that can be used across the life course to prevent disease development. There are many interventions that are used, but three of the largest areas are screening, health education and general wellness.

Preventive care and screening 

Screening is the process of testing a healthy population (i.e., those without a diagnosis) to identify those at risk of developing the disease. Common screening programmes you may be familiar with are for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer (the “smear” test). By identifying those who are showing early signs, or are at risk of developing the disease, there is an overall reduction in disease incidence [2].

The examples named above are for older adults but, crucially, there are screening programmes at several stages of the life cycle including pregnancy and early childhood. This is a vital component of preventive care as it can identify problems in early life that could go on to increase the risk of a multitude of diseases [3].

Preventive care and health education

When considering health on a population level, it would be prudent to involve that population as much as possible. Health education is an essential component of healthcare; instilling key principles into the general public (particularly in younger years) and empowering their choices can address key driving factors behind disease development. 

During the pandemic we saw this in action; articles on the basics of virus transmission, the immune system and diet exploded onto our news feeds. Providing this information ensures a more efficient transfer of information and can encourage healthy habits that prevent a variety of diseases. Addressing this in early life can help to build habits that are carried forward into the next generation whilst also promoting healthy lifestyles at crucial developmental periods.

Preventive care and wellness

The idea of wellness is a holistic picture of wellbeing, satisfaction, and health. There are many components that make up wellness but by addressing them at a population level, we can ensure a healthier group of people that are less likely to develop disease.

Regular physical health check-ups alongside routine reviews (particularly in those at-risk or who have chronic diseases) can address the physical health component. Providing advice, support and specialised services can promote healthier mental health. Wider determinants of health (such as poverty, social isolation, and lifestyle factors) need to be embraced as key parts of overall wellness and given sufficient attention when addressing patient health.

Overall, preventive care encompasses a proactive, holistic approach to health and is a requirement of a sustainable healthcare system. Throughout the life course we can adopt interventions to highlight key issues and early signs of disease whilst empowering patients to embrace wellness and healthier choices. Simply treating diseases as they arise misses significant opportunities and runs the risk of overwhelming healthcare services.

How can you adopt a preventive care approach?

Here at Lemon Well Med, we understand that your patients are multidimensional and there are many facets to disease. We also want to promote a holistic approach to health, given the importance of preventive care. As a result, we have developed an innovative concept of wellness clinics which incorporate the full set of diagnostic and therapeutic devices under one roof. 

Using a combination of diagnostic devices your patient’s health can be assessed in detail, identifying early disease states, and providing a wider picture of their health. Once this is established, you can support their immune system and natural bodily functions and utilise the therapeutic devices straightaway, providing an efficient service and patient satisfaction. We will support you in using the innovative Wegamed approach and, in turn, will provide your patients with a complement of devices.

The concept – Wellness clinic 

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Test Expert

Med Matrix

Med Select

Med Audiocolor

Bibiliography

[1]  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-life-course-approach-to-prevention/health-matters-prevention-a-life-course-approach

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-screening/[3] https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/preventive-care

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