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Tackling chronic disease in Europe: Strategies, interventions, and challenges

Busse R, Blümel M, Scheller-Kreinsen D, Zentner A
Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe on behalf of European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies





Abstract: Chronic conditions and diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Europe, accounting for 86% of total premature deaths, and research suggests that complex conditions such as diabetes and depression will impose an even greater health burden in the future - and not only for the rich and elderly in high-income countries, but increasingly for the poor as well as low- and middle-income countries.

The epidemiologic and economic analyses in the first part of the book suggest that policy makers should make chronic disease a priority. This book highlights the issues and focuses on the strategies and interventions that policy-makers have at their disposal to tackle this increasing challenge.

Strategies discussed in the second part of this volume include (1) prevention and early detection, (2) new provider qualifications (e.g. nurse practitioners) and settings, (3) disease management programmes and (4) integrated care models. But choosing the right strategies will be difficult, particularly given the limited evidence on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

In the third part, the book therefore outlines and discusses institutional and organisational challenges for policy-makers and managers: (1) stimulating the development of new effective pharmaceuticals and medical devices, (2) designing appropriate financial incentives, (3) improving coordination, (4) using information & communication technology, and (5) ensuring evaluation. To tackle these challenges successfully, key policy recommendations are made.

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