[PHNUTR-L] Calculating preventative medicine's return on investment
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Wed Jun 3 05:17:31 PDT 2009
Public release date: 2-Jun-2009
Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron at hms.harvard.edu
Harvard Medical School
Calculating preventative medicine's return on investment
BOSTON, Mass. (June 2, 2009) —There are many reasons why health care
costs in the US are spiraling out of control: ineffective use of
resources, unmanaged chronic conditions and infrequent implementations
of proven prevention strategies all contribute. While it stands to
reason that preventative actions are one solution, no one has yet
quantified the value of investing in non-traditional prevention programs.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have led the development of a
prototype "return on investment calculator" that can measure the value
of prevention services. Using a Boston-based mobile health program
called the "Family Van"
http://www.news.harvard.edu/multimedia/flash/vid_familyvan.swf to test
the tool, the team found that for the services provided in 2008, this
program, in the long run, will return $36 for every dollar invested.
"People talk about the value of preventative measures all the time, but
no one has ever really captured the important contribution of the many
non-traditional prevention-based programs like the Family Van," says
study first-author Nancy Oriol, HMS dean of students and an obstetric
anesthesiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "This value is
underscored by the unique role that mobile health plays in reducing
disparities in health outcomes, increasing access to care, and its
ability to reach out to particularly vulnerable, at-risk communities."
Findings were published online June 2 in the open access journal BMC
The Family Van, a program of HMS, is a mobile clinic providing
preventative health care and education to disadvantaged areas throughout
Boston. The Van provides screening, testing, and education in areas such
as nutrition, weight management, diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy, and
STDs, to name a few. Their goal is to train and educate people in taking
the steps necessary to prevent or better manage chronic disease.
When Oriol, co-founder of the Family Van, decided that there needed to
be some way to quantify the benefits of this and similar programs, she
and executive director Jennifer Bennet teamed up with the Mobile Health
Clinics Network, a membership-based organization of mobile health
clinics and liaison to hundreds of mobile health clinics across the
country; Paul Cote, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health;
and Isaac Kohane, director of the Countway Library of Medicine at HMS,
and a health IT expert.
Using published data from the National Commission on Prevention
Priorities (NCPP), which assigns values to a broad array of preventative
practices, as well as published data on the cost-savings of preventing
avoidable emergency room visits, the team developed an algorithm that
"calculates" a return on investment ratio, thereby quantifying the value
of mobile health care to the overall health care system.
"These data provide evidence for what we have long suspected, that is,
preventative health services are perhaps the most cost-effective way to
address both our ailing health care system and the needs of
disadvantaged communities," says Cote.
The researchers emphasize that the Family Van data presented here is
simply a proof-of-principle demonstrating the feasibility of this online
calculation tool, which they intend to have publicly available in less
than a year. In fact, Oriol's team is in the process of developing a
web-based version of the calculator in order to measure the impact of
the more than 2,000 mobile health programs across the nation.
Ronald McDonald House Charities funded the initial phase of the project.
Work is now continuing with support from the Harvard Provost Fund for
Interfaculty Collaboration and the Boeing Company.
Written by David Cameron
BMC Medicine, online publication, June 2, 2009
"Calculating the return on investment of mobile healthcare"
Nancy E Oriol(1), Paul J Cote(2), Anthony P Vavasis(3), Jennifer Bennet(4),
Darien DeLorenzo(5), Philip Blanc(6) and Isaac Kohane(7)
1-Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2-Independent Health Care Consultant, Boston, MA
3-Health Outreach to Teens, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, New
4-The Family Van, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
5- Mobile Health Clinics Network, San Francisco, CA
6-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Camden, NJ
7-Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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