Preventive medicine is a new specialty that has been gaining ground over the decades. It focuses on not curing or treating illnesses but preventing it. A group of healthcare professionals would band together, work with a specific population and find interventions that would help those individuals decrease the risk of contracting a certain disease. For example, if a certain demographic is considered at risk for diabetes because of the prevalence of obesity within the community, there could be workshops to teach proper nutrition and exercise and encourage healthy habits.
Preventive medicine is officially recognized as a specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the reason it has become more popular over the years is because it has been determined that the cost for treating a disease is much greater than preventing it. Furthermore, there are less complications and it promotes a sense of empowerment and autonomy within the community. Vaccination during flu season is another example of preventive medicine.
There are three main classifications of preventative care:
Universal Prevention: This tackles the entire population as a whole. Focusing on prevention of behaviors that cause long term damage and/or addiction of the individual known to increase costs.
Selective Prevention: Focuses on risks that may be particular to groups by family history, age, economic status or gender.
Indicated Prevention: This classification seeks to find identity markers among individuals that indicate early sign warnings, and seek to initiate treatment early.
Each type of preventive medicine is integrated in the environment by health professionals that are equipped with critical thinking skills and the appropriate clinical knowledge which will heavily influence positively the demographic.