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“This is the first time that an analysis has been conducted for the entire value chain of technology investments in healthcare

Press Release: For immediate release 25th April 2012

New healthcare research has shown that greater investment in ICT and diagnostic technologies would save money and directly improve patients’ health.

The research, led by Professor Walter Van Dyck of Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and European think-tank Science│Business, consisted of a series of small-scale trials using new technologies across the UK, Belgium and Germany and focused on exactly where and how money could be saved.

The study concluded that using ICT to create a personalised approach to diagnosis and treatment in the UK could deliver a potential saving of more than 35% over current practices.

Through investment in central, electronic patient records and genetic testing, healthcare workers were able to identify “high risk” and “low risk” patients when diagnosing common health conditions. These categories were then used to tailor the level of treatment specifically to the patient’s needs, resulting in medical appointments only being made for those patients who required them.

Results also showed that adopting this approach when conducting breast cancer screenings could lead to the average cost per patient falling by 37%, when compared to the current system of screening all women aged over 50. It also provided health benefits as “high risk” patients were monitored more closely, meaning it was possible to detect cancer earlier, treat it effectively and therefore reduce the need for expensive later-stage treatments.

Similarly in detecting cardiovascular diseases, the research showed that providing “high risk” patients with better access to preventative screenings would see the cost of treating heart problems decrease by up to 46%. By equipping GP’s with point-of-care technologies, they were able to perform necessary tests quickly and cheaply. Additionally, technology that allows cardiovascular patients to be responsible for electronically monitoring their own vitals (such as blood pressure and temperature) before sending them into a central nursing unit electronically, resulted in patient adherence to prescribed treatment increasing from 30% to an impressive 92%.

Professor Van Dyke says;

“This is the first time that an analysis has been conducted for the entire value chain of technology investments in healthcare: from healthy individual to initial diagnosis, treatment of disease and eventual recovery or death. The technologies that would allow both GPs and patients to do this are currently available on the market, but are not commonly used. It would require substantial investment from the start, but the research has also shown that in the long term, society can also expect a net saving by keeping more people healthy for longer periods of their lives. This is a very important lesson regarding the cost effectiveness of our healthcare.”


ENDS



For more information or to arrange an interview with Professor Van Dyke, please contact: Ian Hawkings at Bluesky PR – ian@bluesky-pr.net or call +44 (0)1582 790 704




Ian Hawkings
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