Ervin K, Koschel A and Campi S
Prevention is a key element of primary health care and screening provides the ability to reduce complications and health care burden by early identification of potential disease. There is however little information on the effectiveness or uptake of advice from positive chronic disease screening in rural areas of Australia. This study provides evidence for screening for chronic conditions and uptake of advice to consult their medical practitioner when risk factors were identified. Community screening in rural Victoria was undertaken with 56 people screened over a six month period from November 2014 to April 2015. Only participants who scored above 12 on the Australian Diabetes type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool (AUSDRISK) who were not regularly engaged with a medical practitioner regarding their diabetes risk or with high blood pressure were asked to participate in the research project. A total of 24 people were screened positive and were advised to attend their medical practitioner. Twenty three participants consented to a follow up interview post participation in screening to determine uptake of advice and outcomes of medical practitioner engagement with a final 20 participants interviewed. Results demonstrated that the majority of people with a risk of high blood pressure identified during the screening made an appointment with their medical practitioner. Medical practitioners initiated treatment or further testing with these people, ensuring that early intervention would lead to a reduction in complications reducing further burden on the health care system. This early intervention has the potential to avert complications and although the sample was small, it suggests that screening is beneficial and uptake of advice is acted on by those at risk of chronic disease.