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Childhood vaccinations, tobacco counseling and intervention are key services doctors can provide to help people live a longer, healthier life

January 9, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Advising adults to quit smoking, encouraging children and teens to not start smoking and getting vaccines are the top three most cost-effective and life-saving conversations a doctor can have with a patient. Those are the findings of research or study from investigators at HealthPartners Institute, in partnership with the National Commission on Prevention Priorities (NCPP).

The analysis and ranking of preventive services that will help patients and their providers get the best value out of their care is published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

“Our analysis helps patients, clinicians and policy-makers understand which evidence-based preventive services have the greatest value and should be addressed first,” said George Isham, MD, MS, Senior Fellow at HealthPartners Institute. “A lot of services have evidence of effectiveness, a lot are recommended, but even among proven services, some are more important than others.”

Six of the 28 ranked services are cost-saving: childhood immunizations, education or brief counseling to prevent youth from tobacco use, screening and brief counseling to help adults quit using tobacco, screening for alcohol misuse and intervening briefly, aspirin use for people at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and syphilis screening for those at risk.

“We know there is more change in health care on the horizon, and we’re already seeing gaps in use of preventive services despite having coverage,” Isham added. “That’s why this study of relative impact of preventive care services is even more important today.”

“The rankings should help guide us as a nation,” said Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association. “It can be hard to know where to begin with competing priorities. This ranking makes it clear where we will see the biggest improvements for the best value.”

Links to Annals of Family Medicine:

  • Michael V. Maciosek, Amy B. LaFrance, Steven P. Dehmer, Dana A. McGree, Thomas J. Flottemesch, Zack Xu, and Leif I. Solberg. Updated Priorities Among Effective Clinical Preventive Services.
  • Steven P. Dehmer, Michael V. Maciosek, Amy B. LaFrance, and Thomas J. Flottemesch. Health Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Asymptomatic Screening for Hypertension and High Cholesterol and Aspirin Counseling for Primary Prevention
  • Michael V. Maciosek, Amy B. LaFrance, Steven P. Dehmer, Dana A. McGree, Zack Xu, Thomas J. Flottemesch, and Leif I. Solberg. Health Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Brief Clinician Tobacco Counseling for Youth and Adults
  • About HealthPartners Institute

    HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. One of the largest medical research and education centers in the Midwest, the Institute has about 450 studies underway each year, trains more than 700 medical residents and 1,400 students and provides continuing medical education for 25,000 clinicians as well as patient education and clinical quality improvement. For more information, visit

    About the National Commission on Prevention Priorities

    First convened in 2003, the NCPP includes experts in clinical and community prevention who guide research projects and offer strategic direction for developing and disseminating research results. Members include federal, state, and local government officials; university researchers; health plan executives; and other leaders from public and private organizations. The NCPP guides research at HealthPartners Institute in Bloomington, MN, to rank clinical screening tests, counseling services, immunizations and other preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Services are ranked based on health impact and cost-effectiveness. Research findings have been published in leading journals, such as Health Affairs, Annals of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. For more information about NCPP, visit HealthPartners Institute.

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