EARLY INTERVENTION: ACTING QUICKLY CAN IMPROVE PROGNOSIS AND REDUCE COSTS
Source: EU Whitepaper
Diagnosing and treating diseases soon after the first symptoms appear is the simple concept behind early intervention. Why is it important? Early intervention in diseases can slow the onset and progression of chronic conditions. These interventions can take place either early in life, starting in childhood, or at the onset of the disease, depending upon the patient’s diagnosis. And when scaled, these efforts can have a large economic impact on the efficiency of healthcare systems.
The Fit for Work Coalition in Spain is testament to the potential of early intervention programs. Since 2012, the Coalition has supported the progressive expansion of Early Intervention Clinics (EIC) for Musculoskeletal diseases (MSD), which are the main cause of temporary work disability (TWD). In Spain, MSD-TWD results in almost 21 million working days lost per year, which translates into a financial loss of €1.7 billion.
Early intervention for this condition is based on the idea that there is a “window of opportunity” in which patients with MSD disability can recover faster. The hypothesis was tested in randomised, controlled intervention for more than 10,000 cases of MSD-TWD, with a control group that received standard care and an intervention group that received a specific care programme that included expert clinical management, patient education, and support to return to work.
Results speak for themselves: the number of sick leave days was reduced 40% on average, use of health resources was reduced by 45%, and permanent work disabilities reduced by 50%. Total social return for every €1 invested: €11.
20-pager on the pilots
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.