Final Report on the Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases

On 11 November 2013, the European Commission published the “Final Report on the Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases”. This report is intended by the Commission to inform the Council of Ministers and encourage them to draft Council Conclusions on Chronic Diseases in the near future.

The report focuses on two areas: Health promotion and disease prevention on one hand, and chronic disease management, with a strong emphasis on  the role of patient empowerment, on the other.

Key points of the report:

  • Research: It is important to note that the report makes special emphasis and constant reference to the importance of introducing and/or improving cost-effective and innovative technologies in the treatment, as well as in the prevention, early intervention and care, of chronic diseases.  References are also to the need to take advantage of new technologies in tackling chronic diseases.
  • Diagnosis: The report recognises that early diagnosis and timely intervention are crucial in order to prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases. Indeed, Member States and stakeholders have called for concentrate more on targeted screening and early diagnosis.
  • Prevention and early detection: Prevention and strategies to delay the onset of chronic diseases along the life cycle need to be strengthened, making use of innovative concepts to avoid or reduce the need for health care interventions. Member States and stakeholders have also called for a stronger focus on secondary prevention of diseases.

Addressing the burden of chronic disease is a central priority for the European Union and its Member States. The report provides a picture of the policy context:

  • Prevention: It is particularly relevant for VPH that Member States and the Commission will look at targeted prevention including new innovative actions in the field of new technologies.
  • Health information: Possible establishment of a European health information research infrastructure consortium (ERIC) tool, designed for high-profile research infrastructures with a European dimension, to support the collection and analysis of measurable and comparable health data. It could be used by Member States, their public health institutes, researchers and experts, with the support of the Commission and in coordination with OECD and WHO, to improve the availability and comparability of data and relevant ECHI indicators on chronic diseases at national and EU level.
  • Creation of European Reference Networks within the framework of the Directive on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. These Networks will bring together centres of expertise across the EU with the aim of helping knowledge to move between health systems, in order to improve diagnosis and treatment. This is also important for VPH from the perspective of information integration, as the creation of such a Network will help to put together the available fragmented information.
  • Funding: The report recognizes that there is scope for an improved use of EU funding to optimise chronic disease management, such as by identifying and scaling up the use of promising technologies.
  • Patient empowerment: DG Health and Consumers is currently considering setting up a dedicated expert group nominated by Member States, that would examine the results of the mapping exercise and the EU initiatives and put forward ideas for policy actions. The Commission is also  considering new initiatives to promote at a European level the exchange of best practices on patient empowerment, focusing on chronic diseases.

The Council is expected to publish Council conclusions on chronic diseases at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014.

DG Health and Consumers intends to organise an EU summit on chronic diseases in 2014. The summit would review action to date and provide a forum for participants from Member States and stakeholder organisations on future needs.

The Commission is carrying out an additional reflection process on “modern and sustainable health systems”

A Joint Action on addressing chronic diseases and promoting health ageing is to be launched in 2014 with a budget of 10 million euro.

The full report is available here. 

Date: 11/12/2013 | Tag: | News: 209 of 1589
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