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Dr. Herbert Emery's study of the impact of preventive care shows it can reduce demand on health care services in its first year

Contradicting the view of some that preventive care only saves dollars in the long term, Dr. Emery's study shows the impact of a health care prevention program can have a major impact in the first year it is implemented.

The preventative care program, implemented in Alberta provided participants access to a team of physicians, naturopathic doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and dentists.  It focuses on a combination of screening and testing (for example measuring vitamin D levels), identifying nutritional deficiencies, as well as counselling and education to promote lifestyle modification including better nutrition and provision of dietary supplements.

The study evaluated differences between 4,121 participants in the Pure North S'Energy Foundation's preventive and integrative health program and 20,605 matched controls.  In the first year, study participants had 22 percent fewer hospital visits, 21 percent fewer emergency department visits and 31.4 percent fewer visits to a general practitioner than the controls, after accounting for the pre-study values in each group.

An analysis of the impact of this approach on all of Alberta provides an assessment that if all Albertans were to participate in such a preventive approach it would reduce, for one year, the number of nights in hospital by 475,000 (equivalent to reducing the need for acute care beds by 1,300), reduce the number of emergency room visits by 280,000 and reduce the visits to general practitioners by more than 900,000.  These numbers are substantial. 

The results show that approaches which stress wellness and prevent sickness can have substantial short term impacts.   What is needed now is a greater refinement in the approach to make it even more effective, to ensure it is cost-effective and to ensure provinces like Manitoba have a comprehensive preventive services plan, and not just a clinical services plan. 

The full article by Dr. Emery can be seen by clicking on this link. 

Links to my recent blog posts which focus on the need for a much better approach to prevention of sickness in Manitoba are below:








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