Ounce of prevention could be worth, pound of cure and big bucks - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Ounce of prevention could be worth, pound of cure, and thousands of dollars


There's an old saying, an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but, healthcare professionals want you to know the core of being healthy starts with prevention.

"We're finding out that a lot of healthcare, and a lot of having better outcomes in healthcare preventing disease in people treating disease, keeping people alive, has to do with getting access to care long before they're really sick," Dr. Thor Swanson, with the Siouxland Community Health Clinic said.

Dr. Swanson spoke at a health conference in South Sioux City, Nebraska and met with other health leaders to identify barriers that keep people from taking advantage of preventive health care.

"So what this conference is about is, what in Woodbury County, what in Iowa can we do to help people get access to care and how that affect's health outcomes," Dr. Swanson said.

Dr. Swanson says one of the biggest obstacles to preventive care is, cost. That's something dentist Ryan McKenna of the Siouxland Community Clinic in Sioux city sees first hand.

"I think the biggest barrier is financial, not a lot of people have a lot of dental insurance, everyone realizes dentistry can be expensive so people do wait," Dr. Ryan McKenna said

But, costs could be reduced with preventive care. Dr. McKenna says not all people are thinking about this when they make health care decisions, so another issue is educating people about the risks of waiting.

"We've had cases where our patients come in and the swelling has been so bad, we've taken the tooth out and the swelling wouldn't resolve because it's gotten into the facial tissues of the face and they did require a week stay at the hospital," Dr. McKenna said.

Dr. Swanson says in Siouxland and other communities like it, people from some ethnic backgrounds are not used to the idea of preventive health care options.

"Those people have different health customs, they are not necessarily used to seeing a doctors until they're really sick," Dr. Swanson said.

Joan Quinlan studies how to keep healthcare systems current. She says when it comes to shaping the future of healthcare, there's no one size fits all method of planning.

"The most important part is the hospital and the health system listen to the communities, because they really know what their issues are," Joan Quinlan, Executive Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement said.



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