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Prevention in health care : Thematic report of the Public Health Status and Forecast Report 2014

Preventie in de zorg : Themarapport Volksgezondheid Toekomst Verkenning 2014


Prevention is particularly successful if the intervention is offered programmatically, like screening and vaccination programmes. Such programmes have shown to be effective, have favourable cost-effectiveness ratios, and reach large parts of the target groups. However, in health care, prevention is frequently not part of a programmatic approach. Interventions are offered rather fragmented, reaching only small and selected parts of the target groups, and the effectiveness has often not yet been demonstrated. It is assumed that a programmatic approach will enhance the effects of prevention in health care. However, effect evaluation should be conducted before programmatically implementing prevention in health care. RIVM advises not only to focus on health effects in such evaluations, but also to include societal effects like reducing school or work absenteeism.

These are the main conclusions of a study performed by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) about prevention in health care. This report is part of the Public Health Status and Forecast Report (PHSF: in Dutch VTV), which gives an overview of population health in the Netherlands. The report consists of six in depth studies, including smoking prevention in prenatal care, early detection of psychosocial problems in youth, and population screening for cervical cancer. Based on the in depth studies, a comprehensive analysis of the effects, costs and success factors of prevention in health care was performed.

Factors that promote a successful implementation of prevention in health care include: financial compensation for the professional that offers the intervention, and free participation for those who receive the intervention. Furthermore, an adequate infrastructure that fits within daily practice is important. Finally, specific attention for risk groups that are difficult to reach is needed.

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