We are often told that prevention is better than cure. It’s one of those sayings that seems to sound right the moment we hear it, and then actually makes more sense the more we think on it.
In healthcare, so much of the technology, careers, and resources in the field are dedicated to cure. This is inevitable to an extent. When someone is unwell, there is little point in telling them: “well, this wouldn’t have happened if you had done X, Y, and Z things…”
So instead we focus on cure. The healthcare industry is targeted towards this end, for the most part – identifying illnesses, diagnosing them, and then curing them.
Why Does It Matter?
However… wouldn’t it be better if we stuck to the old saying, and acknowledged that prevention is indeed better than cure? While there is no way of preventing every illness known to man, there is nevertheless something to be gained from preventing occurrences of illnesses wherever possible. Early warning signs being interpreted correctly and the patient set on a course of corrective treatment, before a potentially life-threatening condition can set in, is becoming more and more of a part of the healthcare scene.
If we as a society can learn to identify and prevent illness, then the resources currently used for cure could be spent more effectively. Continue to research treatments for the conditions that occur randomly, that cannot be prevented. For everything else, focus on early detection, prevention, and encouraging good behavior in patients. It makes sense.
How Can It Happen?
Without a doubt, the lead for a prevention-over-cure way of operating the healthcare industry comes from the regular family medical practice. At primary care level, patients can be monitored to ensure they are not at risk of developing something more serious.
Much of this can be done by nursing staff, which is why so many nurses are choosing to focus on this area and undertake further training by doing an online MSN FNP qualification. This gives nurses the skills they need to be able to draw conclusions from basic diagnostic tests, such as monitoring blood pressure. From these small acorns of information, it’s possible to predict whether a patient will have more serious problems in the future. For example, high blood pressure is not overly worrisome in and of itself, but can massively increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Are There Any Problems With Prevention?
Inevitably, yes – and the reason it is not a more accepted part of the medical process is due to the patients’ themselves.
To give someone the best chance of not contracting a serious illness, they need to change their lifestyle. They need to eat healthily, avoid damaging foods and excess weight. They need to rarely drink and never smoke tobacco. They need to exercise.
Patients… don’t like being told that. We all have our vices, and it’s hard to see how a few glasses of wine today could truly impact on our health tomorrow. Conquering this feeling of patients not wanting to be “lectured to” by doctors is a big hurdle for the prevention-over-cure technique to develop. However, with research and focus on primary care, there is a good chance it’s a battle that can be won.