Americans could save billions of dollars annually in health care costs per year if they would follow preventative health care practices. Nurses place a critical part in alerting and educating those in their care to these measures that can help them live healthier and happier lives.
Preventative services are often provided by nurses and do not involve extra costs for Americans. Over 20 health care services provided primarily by nurses are considered preventative. These include a long list of childhood immunizations and screenings for cancer, cholesterol, depression and hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure. Key services include tobacco cessation work, including behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement, counseling regarding daily aspirin intake for high-risk heart patients, and alcohol abuse screenings and brief therapy.
Research indicates that if 90% of the population had access to preventative measures, 100,000 lives per year would be saved. Tobacco, alcohol abuse and aspiring screenings have led to more than $1 billion in additional savings.
Providing free preventative services is a relatively new idea as prior to 2010 only half of American adults had received preventative services. Research also indicates that many Americans have put off preventative screenings because of excessive costs.The novelty of screenings and their costs combine to scare away many who should receive these services.
Childhood immunizations by far provide the most benefit, saving 1,233.1 life years per 10,000 individuals. Costs are also minimal as these screenings cost only 1% of the total amount spent on American health care, translating to $61.9 billion annually. These figures don't even take into account future savings, meaning even more money can be saved.