By Jonathan Coopersmith ([email protected])

Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Perhaps the best way to reduce errors in medicine, then, is to prevent the need for medical treatment in the first place.

Here are some websites dedicated to health and prevention:

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) entitled “An Ounce of Prevention… What Are the Returns?” can be found here. The report outlines 19 strategies and demonstrates how spending money to prevent disease and injury and promote healthy lifestyles makes good economic sense. Each prevention strategy was evaluated based on the health impact and costs of the related disease, injury or disability, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the prevention strategy.

The CDC also maintains The Prevention Guidelines Database. It contains all of the official guidelines and recommendations published by the CDC for the prevention of diseases, injuries and disabilities, and was developed to allow public health practitioners and others to quickly access the full set of guidelines from a single point, regardless of where they were originally published. You can search the database or choose from a comprehensive list of topics sorted by title or by date.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, developed a programme called “Put Prevention into Practice” or PPIP. In 1998, the project was transferred to the Department’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research). PPIP, which can be found here, is now a part of AHRQ’s integrated programme in clinical prevention, which includes support for the US Preventive Services Task Force (www.ahcpr.gov/clinic/uspstfab.htm) and ongoing research on the costs, outcomes, and quality of preventive care.

A site entitled “A Pocketful of Prevention”, contains a list of publications and guidelines adapted from a report by the aforementioned US Preventive Services Task Force.

Another interesting site dedicated to health and prevention is www.healthypeople.gov. One page on their website lists the ten leading health indicators, with corresponding sample resources available from the US Federal government.

(And for more quotes by Benjamin Franklin, be sure to check out www.ushistory.org/franklin/quotable/index.htm.)