Preventive medicine is a practice aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality using disease screening and immunization. Even though all types of health insurance cover the majority of preventive services, a considerable part of the US population does not undergo scheduled preventive procedures. A study by DeVoe, Roberts, Davis, and Wallace-Brodeur (2018) revealed that only 81.1% of Vermont young adults had a routine checkup during the past two years. The present paper offers an overview of recommendations by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning preventive care and discusses strategies for promoting and overcoming the barriers in clinical practice to deliver holistic care.
Preventive Care Recommendations
Preventive care includes immunization and disease screening to ensure early diagnosis and treatment. USPSTF (2019) offers a wide variety of screening recommendations based on the latest evidence. The suggestions are classified depending on age, gender, and physical characteristics to ensure that patients receive appropriate care. For instance, diabetes screening is recommended as a part of cardiovascular risk assessment in patients aged 40-70 (USPSTF, 2019).
There are also recommendations for special populations, such as pregnant women, children, and adolescents. For example, USPSTF (2019) recommends the application of fluoride varnish for children up to the age of 5 years. Additionally, pregnant women are recommended to be checked for gestational diabetes after 24 weeks of pregnancy (USPSTF, 2019). At the same time, some recommendations can be applied to all populations, such as hepatitis C screening and skin cancer counseling (USPSTF, 2019). The recommendations are frequently reviewed to incorporate the latest research findings.
Immunization is also vital for the prevention of outbreaks of life-threatening conditions. CDC elaborates immunization schedules for both children and adults. CDC (2019b) recommends a concentrated schedule of vaccinations during the first two years after birth since most of the vaccines are effective for a prolonged period. During this period, children are immunized against hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, varicella, measles, Haemophilus influenzae type b, pneumococcal conjugate, and poliovirus (CDC, 2019b). Adults are vaccinated conditionally, with annual influenza immunization being a universal recommendation (CDC, 2019a). The vaccines are continuously enhanced to improve patient outcomes.
Strategies for Overcoming the Barriers
Even though preventive care is covered by all the health insurance plans, adherence to preventive care recommendations remains low. According to DeVoe et al. (2018), the primary barriers are a high cost of care, absence of health insurance, and hindered access to healthcare services. DeVoe et al.’s (2018) findings are valid for most of the clinics in the US; therefore, the recommendations for improving preventive services are universal.
First, it is vital to increase awareness about the ways of getting health insurance through informative posters and consultations. Second, community outreach programs are to be created to provide mobile screening units for rural communities to receive access to preventive care. Third, hospitals are to continue to implement evidence-based practice guidelines to decrease the cost of care. Improved access to preventive services is expected to decrease the cost of care in the long run.
Preventive care is central to reducing the morbidity and mortality from diseases and improving the nation’s health. USPSTF and CDC offer up-to-date recommendations based on the latest evidence about immunization schedules and preventive screening for all population types. Even though adherence to preventive care guidelines remains insufficient, there are effective strategies that can be used to improve the situation universal for all clinical settings in the US.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019a). Recommended adult immunization schedule for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2019. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019b). Recommended child and adolescent immunization schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2019. Web.
DeVoe, S. G., Roberts, L. L., Davis, W. S., & Wallace-Brodeur, R. R. (2018). Identifying barriers to access and utilization of preventive health-care services by young adults in Vermont. Journal of Adolescent Health, 62(6), 674–680.
US Preventive Services Task Force. (2019). USPSTF A and B recommendations. Web.