Prevention & Screenings

Background

Clinical preventive services, such as routine disease screening and scheduled immunizations, are key to reducing death and disability and improving health. Along with access to care and quality of care, these services that prevent and detect illnesses and diseases in earlier, more treatable stages, significantly reduces the risk of illness, disability, early death, and medical care costs [1].

Access to health services is particularly important in view of the fact that the leading causes of death in the District are largely the result of chronic diseases which can often be reduced through prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment [1]. Preventive care includes health services like screenings, check-ups, and patient counseling that are used to prevent diseases and illnesses, or to detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to be most successful [2].

Screenings are medical tests that clinicians use to check for diseases and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms. Accessing recommended screening tests is an important and proactive way individuals can support their health [1]. There are different recommendations for screening tests depending on your age, sex, and medical history.

Below are several key prevention and screening indicators that show how well populations are accessing and utilizing these services:

Preventive Care Visits

Measures whether people are visiting their primary care provider for yearly check-ups. There are disproportionate outcomes based on Ward.

Chlamydia Screening in Young People

With high sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates in young people ages 13-24, this indicator is important in tracking the percentage of young people who are screened for chlamydia. The rate has been slowing increasing over the past several years. More information can be found in Adolescent Health and Sexual Health.

Flu Vaccination in Older Adults

Immunization against infectious diseases like flu is especially important in older adults, who may be more susceptible to serious complications from the flu. There are disparate outcomes in recently reported flu vaccination rates by race. More information on immunization can be found in Safety Behaviors.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Testing

Along with other STIs, HIV testing is important for all District residents as there is a higher prevalence of HIV in the population, and therefore an increased risk of contracting it. HIV testers also receive counseling and prevention education. More information about incidence and testing patterns can be found in Sexual Health.

Cancer Diagnosis

Some cancers can be successfully treated and cured, but early diagnosis is vital in ensuring that treatments are effective and lead to long term survivorship. Regular screenings and improved access to health services can continue to improve early detection of cancers. More information about Cancer testing, diagnosis, and treatment can be found in Cancer & Chronic Disease.