Monday, March 14, 2011

Prevention = Simplicity

Health: A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not
merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

- World Health Organization

I figured out the connection between my recent anti-smoking tirade and simplicity in healthcare: Prevention = Simplicity.

So much of what we consider modern medicine is acute-care, high-tech, expensive rescue treatment for conditions related to behaviour. Think of sun exposure and skin cancer, obesity, driving while intoxicated, and of course, all the illness caused by tobacco addiction.

I wonder if some health economist has done the math on the relative cost of interventions to prevent disease and interventions to rescue us from the effects of disease? I suppose it would be (relatively) simple to tally up the cost of chemotherapy drugs or ICU stays, but I wonder how human suffering fits into that equation?

The ultimate simplicity is to avoid all those illnesses with primary prevention. But, healthy living is so boring. How can you compete with all those commercials for fast food? (Mmmmm, bacon.) Look how much fun those guys are having at the bar. ("Drink responsibly")

We need a marketing campaign for healthy living.

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