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Currently showing: Funding longer lives > Health/medicine

25 Apr 13 18:18

For some, living longer means needing to manage health problems for longer periods. While we know that maximizing the effectiveness of medical therapies will help minimize costly disease complications and improve the quality of life, it is concerning that adherence to many treatment regimens for chronic disease is suboptimal.

There are many studies in the medical literature that document this problem, such as a recent paper by Munter et al., in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension in 2011 where he found correlations between reduced adherence to blood pressure medicines and higer risk of stroke. Beyond hypertension many chronic health conditions in older age require daily medications to manage and the complexity of treating multiple problems with multiple medications cannot be overstated. Additionally, treatments that might have been used on a short term basis for certain cancers in the past may now be extended in the future to improve their therapeutic effects. Today, more often than not health care providers and their patients are just "managing" chronic disease, they are not "curing" it.

So until the day arrives where we can permanently fix chronic diseases in a single office visit what can be done to try and improve adherence to medical treatments? As societies age the costs associated with suboptimal care will increase due to the growing numbers of elderly individuals. What can those with chronic conditions do to improve their compliance with treatment? What can the health care system do to help in these efforts? Your thoughts?

Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Longevity risk

Tags: #Disease.


Brian Ivanovic - 29 Apr 2013, 6:29 p.m.

Health costs over longer lives: Part 2 The costs of new medical therapies

Some of the research staff within Swiss Re recently had a discussion about the costs of emerging new meidal therapies. When one considers that new treatments can lead to better control of disease and living more normal longer lives its important to celebrate those scientific successes. But what are the costs of some these new treatments such as gene therapy and how will we be able to pay for these treatments? Our group has an interest in learning about trends around funding treatment research and how those trends may be influencing the costs of emerging new therapies. What's happening in drug research to make the process more efficient and can that help contain rising costs of drugs? Will costs contine to rise or will there be ways to actually reverse these trends?

Giselle Abangma - 30 Apr 2013, 12:44 p.m.

Implementing telecare services such as telephone-linked reminder systems might help increase compliance.

Brian Ivanovic - 10 May 2013, 8:15 p.m.

Telephone and text based reminder systems could be very helpful for those who forget to take their medications and for those who have some cognitive issues that impact short term memory. Some of these systems are even linked to the pill bottle or dispenser and will sense if a bottle has not been opened. In that situation a text message is sent to the person and if there is not a response (bottle opening) then a reminder can be sent to another caregiver or significant other. This technology should help with compliance but its not free either. The question then becomes whether the cost of medical complications due to suboptimal compliance is more than the cost of monitoring techology for many a large proportion of the population. Because issues with compliance are widespread large numbers of individuals would need to accept and use this technology. It will be interesting to see how future medical literature deals with the economic issues around improving compliance.

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