This report brings attention to the importance of high-value preventive care. This type of care
includes immunizations, disease screenings, and counseling services delivered by health care
providers—services that produce the greatest health benefits and offer the best cost value based
on extensive research to determine the best evidence for what works in prevention. This report
documents the shortfalls in use of these health care services and the life-and-death consequences.
It also features the mortality impact of under-use of cancer screening services for racial and ethnic
populations. This report’s singular focus on prevention and health impact data make it unique.
The sad fact is that high-value preventive care is widely underused, and as a result there are
millions of people whose lives are shortened or who are unnecessarily sick, who are less productive
than they would be otherwise, and who incur expensive medical costs. Closing the gaps in the use
of just five preventive services would save 100,000 lives annually in the United States.
For example, increasing the number of adults who use aspirin regularly to prevent heart disease
would save 45,000 lives annually. Increasing the percentage of smokers who have had a doctor
offer assistance to help them quit would save 42,000 lives annually. These two preventive measures
have been recommended by experts for years. Yet the majority of people who need to use aspirin
regularly for prevention purposes are not using it, and the majority of smokers who need medical
assistance to quit are not getting that help from their doctors. Any effort to reform the nation’s
health system should have greater use of these and other evidence-based preventive services as a
I urge you to read and discuss this report with your colleagues, bring it to the attention of
policymakers and those who influence them, and do your part to implement the policies and
practices necessary to make improvements.