Prevention Policy Matters Blog

The Prevention Policy Matters Blog helps translate public health policy into practice, offering innovative ways to make national guidelines work in communities across the nation. Discover insights and practical tips from experts across all of ODPHP’s divisions, as well as compelling stories from other professionals.

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes significant health problems in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), secondhand smoke harms both children and adults — and the only way to completely protect people who don’t smoke is to eliminate smoking in all homes, work environments, and public places.
The ONC Patient Engagement (PE) Playbook was created by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to help healthcare professionals use health information technology (health IT) to provide better care to patients. The PE Playbook focuses specifically on electronic health record (EHR) patient portals, which allow both patients and healthcare teams, concurrent with patients’ privacy preferences, to easily access patient health information — which may lead to increased benefits for healthcare, such as improved health outcomes and lower costs.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) plays a role unlike any other in the Nation’s health care system. This independent body of volunteer medical experts helps clinicians evaluate and apply preventive health care services for patients with no recognized signs or symptoms of disease. Their recommendations aim to help primary care clinicians and patients decide together whether a preventive service is right for a patient's needs.
More people in the United States have access to health care today than in 2010. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the percentage of uninsured people among all age groups decreased from 16% in 2010 to 9% in 2016. During the same time period, the percentage of people among all age groups who had a usual place to go for medical care increased from 85.4% to 88.1%. People without insurance are less likely to receive care and more likely to have poor health, while people with a usual place to go for care have better health outcomes and lower health care costs. 
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends lung cancer screening for older adults who are current or former heavy smokers and would be willing to have surgery if cancer were found. Screening can save lives, but is not risk free. In addition to exposure of radiation, 35.6% of those screened will have a false alarm and 1.8 percent will have a needless invasive procedure (e.g., a biopsy). As a primary care physician, you’ll want to help your patients make what may be a tough decision.
Every spring, 4-H clubs send delegates to the National 4-H Conference for leadership and professional development. The delegates separate into groups to address a challenge posed by a federal agency. ODPHP challenged a group of 4-H members to provide the youth perspective for how to communicate the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to adolescents.
Stroke takes a serious toll on the health of Americans: Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke. All health care providers — physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and others — play an important role in preventing this deadly disease. And May, as National Stroke Awareness Month, is the perfect time to reflect on what each of us can do to prevent, detect, and treat stroke.
Last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a new Nutrition Facts label loaded with information designed to help people make healthier food and beverage choices. As the updated Nutrition Facts labels begin appearing in the marketplace, your patients and clients could use your help in learning how to understand and use it to improve their food and beverage choices.
Underage alcohol use (also known as underage drinking) is a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people abuse alcohol more than any other drug — and more than 4,300 young people die from alcohol-related causes each year. The problem of underage drinking is even more significant for American Indians, and major health disparities related to alcohol exist for this population. In addition to having higher rates of alcohol-related deaths, American Indians are more likely to start drinking alcohol at a younger age than other groups — a significant risk factor for alcohol problems later in life.