Practicing Prevention

Program 156 • 29 mins


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Whoever calculated that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure understated the ratio, according to super-investor Warren Buffet. In this episode, we hear from physician Ralph Snyderman, MD, a proponent of preventive medicine, who believes that our health care system should place greater emphasis on preventive practices (such as healthy diet and stress management), because it is more humane to avoid disease than to cope with it, and because it is a far cheaper mode of health care. And yet, Dr. Snyderman points out, there is little reimbursement for a physician who takes the time to counsel a patient in preventive lifestyle choices, but lucrative compensation for the high-tech interventions used by doctors when a patient does get sick. Dr. Snyderman believes this backward system is simply unsustainable.

We tend to think that when we’re well we don’t have much of an obligation for our health and we if we get sick, the health care system will cure us. In addition to that, somebody else will pay for it? Individuals need to take more responsibility for their health when they’re well, in other words early on. They need to take part of the responsibility. They cannot relegate it to the physician or the health system when things go bad. The old Aamco transmission advertisement, ‘pay me now or pay me later.’ Do you wait until your transmission is absolutely destroyed or do you do the maintenance to keep it going?”

—Ralph Snyderman, MD, Dean emeritus, School of Medicine


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