Greater use of five preventive services could save over 100,000 lives annually, according to a joint study from the Partnership for Prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Here's how the numbers add up.
1. If health care professionals could persuade 90% of adults to take a daily low-dose of aspirin to prevent heart disease (unless contraindicated), an additional 45,000 lives could be saved. Currently less than 50% of adults take aspirin prophylactically.
2. About 42,000 additional lives would be saved if health care professionals advised 90% of smokers to quit and offered medication or other assistance. Currently, only 28% of patients receive this assistance.
3. If 90% of adults age 50 and older underwent colorectal cancer screening, an additional 14,000 lives could be saved. Currently less than 50% of these adults undergo such screening.
4. If 90% of adults age 50 and older received a flu shot each fall (compared with the 37% who typically get it), about 12,000 lives could be saved.
5. About 3,700 lives could be saved if 90% of women age 40 and older received breast cancer screening, compared with 67% of women in this age-group who currently get mammograms.
The report also revealed significant disparities in preventive care among ethnic and racial groups. It's available on Partnership for Prevention's Web site at http://prevent.org.