It might sound funny, but one of the reasons I took a liking to my primary care provider is that he asked me how often I wear a seatbelt.
"Not very often," I said. "Only when I'm in a car."
I found his question somewhat humorous because no physician I had in the past ever brought it up--although it is very much an appropriate topic for a healthcare provider to have with his patient.
Just think if primary care physicians and pediatricians routinely asked this question throughout the 1970s and 80s, back when most drivers ignored the restraints in their cars and child safety seats were not mandatory. (A quick fact on this: In 1983, only 14 percent of Americans used seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)
It makes me wonder how many lives might have been saved by this simple act of physicians surveying their patients and providing some basic health education.
A study released this week claims that increasing the use of five preventive services would save more than 100,000 lives every year in the U.S. None of these services has anything to do with auto safety, but some of these changes are nearly as simple as fastening a seatbelt.
Eduardo Sanchez, MD, says a lot of Americans--especially racial and ethnic minorities--are not getting the preventive services they need. Sanchez is the chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, which guided the new report by Partnership for Prevention. Among the top findings of the report, Preventive Care: A National Profile on Use, Disparities, and Health Benefits: