Clinical preventive medicine in primary care: background and practice: 2. Delivering primary preventive services

Mayo Clin Proc. 2000 Mar;75(3):255-64. doi: 10.4065/75.3.255.


Strategies to incorporate preventive services into primary care settings have been underutilized. The first component of delivering preventive services in the primary care setting is the health risk assessment followed by establishment of practice guidelines and protocols for preventive services--who is eligible for what service (based on age, sex, and other clinical characteristics) and when. A computerized reminder system can be useful to track past and currently due preventive services for each patient and can also serve as a follow-up system for test results. Well-trained paramedical personnel can perform appropriate patient counseling and education. The goal of counseling and education is to change patient behavior. The first step in this difficult process is once again to ascertain health risks and then to determine the patient's stage of readiness--defined as precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The counselor assists in identification of target behavior, advocates and commends behavior change, reinforces health benefits of behavior change, offers resources, strategies, and support, and creates a plan of action and monitoring mechanisms. Improved implementation of preventive services in primary care could have a major impact on the health of the population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Life Style
  • Mass Screening
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Preventive Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • United States