For too long, the health care industry in the US has been focused on treating illnesses after the fact. This approach has two main problems. First, it’s not optimal for the patient, and second, it is not cost effective. Preventive health care attempts to address health care concerns before an emergency room visit is required or an illness has progressed past the point of effective treatment.
As you progress through a health care MBA program, staying up to date with industry trends and medical breakthroughs allows you to tailor your education to what will be happening in the future of your field of choice.
Genetic Breakthroughs and Applications
With the number of seniors in the US growing dramatically, the field of genetic testing and its ability to map a patient’s future health can potentially increase life expectancy and enhance quality of life for millions of Americans.
Doctors are increasingly using genetic testing as a way to diagnose genetic disorders and predict risks of developing common diseases. This approach can make a patient aware of potential health issues before it’s too late to treat them.
Image via Gamma Lab
As a way to test the success and viability of genetic testing as it relates to preventive health care, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention launched the EGAPP (Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention) Initiative. It aims to “establish and test a systematic, evidence-based process for evaluating genetic tests and other applications of genomic technology that are in transition from research to clinical and public health practice.”
Not only is EGAPP crucial to advancing the science involved in genetic testing, but the information it collects will be used by health care providers and payers, as well as policymakers. Genetic testing as it relates to preventive health care must involve safe and effective procedures in order to realize its vast potential to help patients.
The Importance of Research
In order to one day prevent illnesses and diseases that currently are not often diagnosed before problems arise, an incredible amount of research must be done to find links between a patient’s genetic makeup and the first signs of disease in the patient. In labs across the country, this research involves obtaining blood samples from thousands of research volunteers. The longitudinal studies involving these blood samples are where many breakthroughs happen.
It’s important to understand how the research leads to the opportunity to prevent illnesses. The Cancer Prevention Institute of California has been conducting important research into breast cancer prevention for decades. Their research into the benefits and risks of double mastectomies will undoubtedly impact the decision-making process for doctors and patients as they decide how to combat breast cancer and prevent recurrences.
Whether you believe American medicine is beginning to focus on preventive health care because of economic or philanthropic reasons, the fact remains that physicians, hospitals and scientists are questioning the status quo. Optimizing health before problems arise is better for everyone.