Thursday, May 25, 2006

The National Commission on Prevention Priorities has spoken.

I've long realized that the only really important thing I do with my stethoscope is take a blood pressure. Beyond that, my time is best spent discussing health habits and lifestyle changes during annual exams with respect to improving future outlooks for my patients.

The NCPP agrees. They've ranked preventive services according to their worth in "clinically preventable burden and cost-effectiveness." In other words, what can I as a primary care physician do for you that best results in serious troubles prevented per dollar spent to do so.

Their conclusion? The top 3 servces are: 1)Discussing aspirin use with adults at high-risk for cardiovascular disease, 2) immunizing children, 3) tobacco-use screening and intervention. In another look at their data, they also selected high-ranking services that were not being utilized at a very high rate, including tobacco counseling, screening adults over 50 for colorectal cancer, and immunizing adults over 65 with the pneumonia vaccine.

In other words, hang up the stethoscope. It's a good thing too; as some of you may know I often have trouble finding mine where I last left it.

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