Future Health

The innovation idea is to test the hypothesis that clinical preventive counseling may be less cost effective than other forms of communication to impact future health.

The goal of the innovation is to carefully distinguish population-level health communication initiatives that target the health and readiness of the future workforce and beneficiary population. For this innovation idea I want to call this separate category “Future Health”. This category affect all of the four MHS strategic aims.

Background discussion.

Innovation is not just thinking up ways of doing things better, it also redefines the problems and asks if the right questions are being asked. This innovation ponders the cost-effectiveness of increased clinical preventive counseling to improve future health as compared to population-level communication methods.

If a person has 16 waking hours in a day every day of the year he will be awake and interacting for 5840 hours per year. If that same person received 15 minutes of preventive counseling in the clinic each year, he would at the end of 4 years receive a total of 1 hour of counseling for 23,360 waking hours of his life.

If ten million beneficiaries receive 15 minutes of clinical preventive counseling per year they will at the end of 4 years utilize ten million man-hours of provider time to be reached 1/23,360th of their lives. If preventive counseling sessions were doubled, twenty million man-hours would be utilized to reach each person 2/23,360ths of their lives.

In our nation’s very short history, after hospitals were built doctors rarely made house visits to sick people, sick people went to hospitals or private practices if they could afford them. What about now? There is a modern emphasis on keeping healthy people healthy through behavior change and social change. Why should healthy people need to go to hospitals to receive expensive communication, in spare quantities, when the reason for building hospitals was to treat sick people with new methods, better medication, and newer technology? The idea of treating healthy people in clinics with health communication may not have been a completely logical extension of the reason clinics were built.

Innovation Recommendation.

The pilot idea is to look at an MTF that did a lot of preventive counseling and calculate the cost of clinical counseling coded-in for the past year. Add to that cost any prevention budget bonuses. With that exact dollar total, issue a grant to that beneficiary region for the next year to be used exclusively for aggressive population-level health communication campaigns for the leading health indicators.

There would need to be a clear written distinction from other similar-sounding prevention ideas such as health education, consumer wellness, centers and libraries, counseling phone lines, curative remedial programs, handbooks, healthcare advertising , etc. The initiative could be directed by population-level health communication experts from CDC or similar agency to keep it from being executed in the wrong purchases.

At the end of the year MHS or CDC could use random sample surveys of community members to see if the communication campaigns equaled or exceeded the impact of the clinical prevention communication in that same year.

Try it out