The proportion of the U.S. population over age 65 has increased from 5% in 1900 to 13% in 1997. This change in demographics, combined with an increase in average life expectancy, has highlighted the importance of preventive care services for older individuals (Rowe, 1999). For example, in 1993, the five most common causes of mortality among patients age 65 and over were heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia and influenza, all of which are potentially preventable (CDC, 1996). Early detection and treatment can improve the health of patients with many of these conditions and potentially decrease health care costs. Similarly, appropriate immunizations can prevent several of these conditions from occurring, or render the disease less severe. To help determine the best strategies for early detection and prevention of some of these conditions, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has commissioned this project to assess interventions designed to improve influenza and pneumococcal immunization rates, mammography rates, cervical smear cytology rates, and colon cancer screening rates.
Reprinted with permission from Office of Research, Development, and Information Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Originally published in: Evidence Report and Evidence-Based Recommendations: Interventions that Increase the Utilization of Medicare-Funded Preventive Services for Persons 65 and Older.
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