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New Resource Helps Clinicians Put Prevention Into Practice

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Press Release Date: December 13, 2001

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today released A Step-by-Step Guide to Delivering Clinical Preventive Services: A Systems Approach. This new publication, the newest from AHRQ's Put Prevention Into Practice Program, will help guide clinicians in the development of a system for delivering clinical preventive services in the primary care setting.

Research shows that the most effective and accepted preventive services are not delivered regularly in the primary care setting. For example, in 1997 pneumococcal disease caused 10,000-14,000 deaths, but only 43 percent of persons aged 65 and older received a pneumococcal vaccine.

"When primary care includes preventive care, Americans will live longer and healthier," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "This guide will make it easier for clinics and other primary care centers to incorporate prevention efforts into the patient care routines."

The Guide:

  • Describes easy-to-follow, logical steps for establishing preventive care protocols.
  • Defines staff roles for delivering and monitoring preventive care.
  • Determines patient and material flow.
  • Readjusts delivery and system standards.

The Guide breaks the process of delivering clinical preventive services into small, manageable tasks and provides practical tools such as worksheets, health risk profiles, and preventive care flowsheets that can be customized for use in various clinical settings. The Guide, adapted from materials produced by the Texas Department of Health, is based on scientific and empirical evidence and has been found effective in many settings. Physicians, nurses, health educators, and office staff have successfully implemented this systematic approach to delivering prevention in public health clinics, community health centers, and private practices.

"There is increasing evidence that a formal system for delivering preventive services within a primary care setting can help overcome the many barriers that inhibit their delivery," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., AHRQ's Director. "The Guide provides evidence-based information and a team-oriented approach that will help clinicians work with their patients to ensure that all their preventive health care needs are being met."

In addition to this Guide, the PPIP program offers other patient and provider materials that support the delivery of clinical preventive services in the primary care setting. The PPIP program, based on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, helps clinicians deliver appropriate preventive services in clinical practice and tells patients which preventive services they should expect their health care professionals to provide.

Copies of this publication and all other PPIP resources are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 800-358-9295 or For more information on AHRQ Prevention Programs, please visit the AHRQ Web site at

For additional information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364.


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