Primary and secondary prevention services in clinical practice. Twenty years' experience in development, implementation, and evaluation

JAMA. 1995 Apr 12;273(14):1130-5.


This article reviews lessons from 20 years of experience in development and provision of clinical preventive services at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, a large health maintenance organization. Critical factors for enhancing service include the use of a population-based epidemiologic viewpoint coupled with specific evidence-based criteria to examine issues; involvement of practitioners in the process; a systems approach to implementation focused on predisposing factors of the practitioners and enabling factors in the practice, organizational, and community environments; feedback of program outcomes; and the use of automated clinical information systems. Outcome results from our clinical prevention efforts include a 32% decrease in late-stage breast cancer (1989 to 1990); 89% of 2-year-old children with complete immunizations (1994); decrease in adult smokers from 25% to 17% (1985 to 1994); and an increase in bicycle safety helmet use among children from 4% to 48% along with a 67% decrease in bicycle-related head injuries (1987 to 1992). Systematic population-based approaches to the development and provision of clinical preventive services targeting the one-to-one level of primary care and multiple infrastructure levels of care are forging a synthesis of clinical medicine and public health approaches. This approach will become pervasive as clinical information systems improve, risk information is captured routinely, and practitioners gain skills in the art of patient risk behavior change and population-based care.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / organization & administration*
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / standards
  • Humans
  • Preventive Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Preventive Medicine / standards
  • Program Development*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data
  • Washington