EARLY INTERVENTION: ACTING QUICKLY CAN IMPROVE PROGNOSIS AND REDUCE COSTS
Source: EU Whitepaper
Across much of the developed world, populations are ageing. This means people must be healthy enough to continue working longer than ever. However, chronic conditions are on the rise, limiting people’s ability to remain productive.
It is forecast that by 2030, as many as 40 % of people of working age will have a long-term, work-limiting health condition in some European countries. That makes prioritising early intervention amongst people of working age an urgent concern. Yet, a large number of working people still take avoidable sick leave or leave work permanently due to health conditions that could be treated earlier or managed. Unless more patients can access early intervention and prevention programmes, the burden of chronic ill-health in the working-age population will continue to increase.
Health and productivity are closely linked, making it urgent that early intervention be brought into the workplace through targeted initiatives. There are many ways to achieve this: by embedding ‘work’ as a clinical outcome of primary care and incorporating it into clinical guidelines and frameworks; by using joint budgeting tools to encourage work-focused healthcare and to support early intervention in the workforce; by encouraging clinicians to determine if a return to work is a therapeutic and financial priority for patients and building subsequent return-to-work plans; by helping employers refer staff to Occupational Health or GPs for assessment early and by supporting workers and patients to return to work as soon as possible.
Bevan, Stephen, “Back to Work: Exploring the benefits of early interventions which help people with Chronic Illness remain in work”.
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.