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Are Our Health Care Dollars Mis-Spent?

Published on July 27th, 2012 by in Uncategorized

“The function of protecting and developing health must rank even above that of restoring it when it is impaired.” Hippocrates

This wisdom was obvious to this ancient Greek physician long before the marvelous medical inventions of today.  He is known as the founder of medicine.  Many consider him to be the greatest physician of all time.  Yet the basic principal of caring for people in a holistic way seems to have escaped the medical institutions of today.

His concepts of seeing the body as more than simply a series of parts that needed to be repaired was ground-breaking in the 4th century.  He believed that the body heals itself when given proper rest, diet and fresh air.  This is an idea that is not reflected in our current priorities and health care budgets.

The return on investment (ROI) has been proven in multiple studies.  With chronic, preventable diseases causing 7 out of 10 deaths in the US, a few people are beginning to sit up and notice.

The perfect example is with diabetes.  The average annual cost of treating someone with diabetes is $11,744.  For those without diabetes, the average is only $2,935.  Using those numbers, it could be said that preventing diabetes can save our health care system about 75% of what is currently being spent to treat the disease.

Why then is less than 4% of the health care budget allocated to prevention?

A study conducted by the Trust for America’s Health, we get almost $6 in return for every dollar spent in proven community-based prevention programs.  The study predicted that $10 per person spent on disease prevention could save our economy more than $16 billion a year.

Although those numbers are impressive, they don’t even account for the reduced number of days missed from work and school.  Employers could benefit from increased worker productivity and the person avoiding the chronic disease has a much better quality of life too.

Employers are leading the policy makers right now.  In an effort to control health care costs for their workers, 67 percent of companies who provide health insurance also offered wellness programs on the worksite.  When looking at the companies with 1,000 or more employees, almost every single one has recognized the benefit of preventative health care and offer wellness programs as part of the benefit package.

Even with the growing evidence, our health care system gives primary focus to discovering treatments for existing disease rather than preventing disease.  Right now, the system is simply not designed to prevent chronic illnesses.

If we want to reduce chronic illness, we must rethink our priorities.  The preventative health care app offered by DECIDE mobility gives people the ability to get the information they need to improve their risk of chronic disease.  In the palm of their hand is a tool for saving money (on a personal and national level), improving quality of life, and living much longer.

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