April 5, 2009
Health & Policy: Reduce Healthcare Cost by Availing Nurse Led Services
Chronic diseases, especially heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stress and cancer are the most common hazards to health in the Irish population. In addition to the direct harm they cause to individual health, they also provoke many indirect issues related to health care.
Primary preventive interventions exist to tackle part of the avoidable disease burden. We would suggest for a Public Health Initiative for Health Education Awareness Programmes to focus on education and prevention which in turn will facilitates a proactive approach to healthcare. This, in turn, will lead to an overall decrease in health care costs in the future and alleviate the burden on our health system.
This public health initiative could be performed in various locations such as the schools, community, health care facilities and worksites This programme would be delivered by nurses, health promotion advisors or train the trainer programmes at a fraction of the cost.
Given the magnitude of the health and economic burden of lifestyle-related disease, is there a justification. A healthier population displays a reduced need for health services
thus as a means to control the growth of medical care expenditures — in addition to improving the population’s health.
The primary purpose of health education & prevention programmes is to improve the quantity and quality of life, and if it does so at a lower cost than other interventions, prevention expenditure is a perfectly rational use of the money from an economic perspective.
Nurse Led Immunisation Programmes in Primary Care
In the primary care setting we would suggest to provide accreditation courses for nurses that authorises them to vaccinate without a doctor’s standing order as in the UK, USA, Australia etc. The nurse led immunisation service could also be extended to the workplace for employees exposed to biological hazards, workforce flu immunisation etc, etc and considered as part of a possible national HPV immunisation programme
. The cost incurred in running a nurse-led immunisation service would reflect the fact that there is a potential to reduce the cost of such a service for both the state and workplace in addition to improving the population’s health.