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E. Spreading The Word About Prevention

Narrator: This is Science Today. While health care policies continue to embrace plans managed more by HMOs, and less by individual physicians, behavioral scientist Barbara Gerbert of the University of California, San Francisco says some things end up falling by the wayside...

Gerbert: And often, what has to go is prevention, because the physician feels that they have to attend to the presenting problem for that day and if the appointment is 8 to 12 minutes, even 15 minutes, it may be all the physician can do to attend to the presenting problem for the day.

Narrator: Gerbert found HMOs are very effective in providing important prevention materials to patients.

Gerbert: HMOs are very aware that they can help patients in preventive efforts, whether it has to do with smoking, or drug abuse, skin cancer, HIV prevention. They see it as their role to help their patients and I think this will increase over time. The more they can prevent disease the more cost-effective it will be.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.