Introductory Editorial: Few would dispute the premise that prevention, early detection, and early intervention form the first line of defense on the disease management (DM) continuum. That being the case, our national statistics on preventive health should be raising concerns throughout the industry. The US healthcare delivery system continues to fall woefully short of its prevention targets. On the international scene, the United States lags behind countries with less wealth and less technological savvy. Commentaries abound on the problems, but recently I became aware of an organization with an exciting goal and a novel solution for bringing preventive medicine into the mainstream.
U.S. Preventive Medicine, Inc. (USPM) was founded by Christopher Fey, a former president and CEO of HealthCare USA, a multistate health maintenance organization, and senior officer of Coventry Health Care Corporation. A number of years ago, Mr. Fey had a life-altering experience. He witnessed his brother-in-law, a 39-year-old man in seemingly excellent physical condition, suffer a massive stroke that resulted in permanent right-sided paralysis, and speech and memory impairment. Following the event, physicians concluded that his brother-in-law’s risk factors could have been identified and his disease state detected by means of available technological screening devices. His was a condition for which effective drug therapy and other interventions were available. This event and its consequences were preventable.
Having experienced firsthand the devastating consequences of a "broken" system that fails to respond until a condition produces symptoms, Mr. Fey became an "evangelist" for prevention and early detection. In founding USPM, he translated an interesting concept into an innovative model for preventive health in a consumer-driven market.
In the following pages we provide a brief history of and current status report on the state of preventive health in the United States, and we present an overview of this company’s solution as one example of the untapped potential for innovation in the delivery of preventive services. I hope that the information contained herein will inspire you and our colleagues to join the conversation about the direction the United States will take with regard to improving access to screening and preventive services and enriching the lives of all citizens. As always, I welcome your comments. I can be reached at David.Nash@jefferson.edu.
Recommended CitationClarke, Janice L. and Meiris, Deborah, "Preventive medicine: A "cure" for the healthcare crisis" (2006). School of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 29.