Saturday, June 15, 2024

Escalating Healthcare Costs: Over Half of Diabetes Expenditure Linked to Complications

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From 2019 to 2022, an average annual expenditure of 174 million euros was recorded on diabetes, revealing significant financial impacts on healthcare systems. The Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS) spent over half of this annual direct expenditure on managing complications associated with diabetes, such as hospitalizations from cardiovascular issues, kidney problems, and diabetic foot, among others. These findings underscore the heavy financial toll of diabetes-related complications on healthcare resources.

A detailed study led by Prof. Dr. Petra Došenović Bonča from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, along with Karmen Janša, a diabetologist and expert associate at ZZZS, involved meticulous data collection and analysis from the ZZZS database. Spanning from August 2019 to 2022, the research focused on seven groups of diseases related to diabetes. Their findings were published in a prestigious international journal on health economics and presented at a press conference, marking the first thorough collection of data regarding the financial expenditures of compulsory health insurance and co-payments dedicated to diabetes treatment annually.

Diabetes, a widespread metabolic disease affecting approximately 10% of the global population aged between 20 and 79, causes significant economic strain due to its management and the treatment of its many complications. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) highlights the substantial economic burden posed by this condition, particularly through its complications, impacting individual patients, healthcare systems, and broader societal structures.

Study Reveals High Costs of Diabetes Complications, Urges Better Management

During the study period, it was determined that managing a diabetic patient without complications costs about €520 annually. However, this expenditure increases dramatically for patients with complications, with an additional average cost of €4,385 per year for those suffering from kidney complications alone. Other complications, including those affecting the heart, eyes, legs, and nerves, also contribute to the increased financial burden, illustrating the extensive impact of poor diabetes management.

Dr. Karmen Janša noted that complications account for more than half of the direct diabetes-related expenditures, emphasizing the need for better management strategies to prevent these costly health issues. She pointed out that diabetes management is complex due to the myriad of potential late complications, necessitating continuous patient monitoring for multiple health indicators such as blood pressure and lipid levels.

Prof. Dr. Tadej Battelino, a pediatric endocrinologist, stressed the importance of reallocating resources toward preventing complications to maintain the health of those not yet affected, thereby reducing overall healthcare expenditures. This shift towards prevention and early intervention is crucial for managing healthcare costs effectively.


Healthcare Study Advocates for National Diabetes Management Strategy in Slovenia

The researchers advocate for a robust approach to diabetes management, emphasizing the need for a national strategy to ensure consistent and quality care across Slovenia. The study highlights disparities in the availability of healthcare professionals and resources, particularly in rural areas, which could hinder effective diabetes management.

The Slovenian Diabetes Association, with Samo Fakin as vice president, focuses on empowering patients through education and motivation, especially in managing their diets and maintaining physical activity. This patient-centric approach is vital for effective disease management and preventing severe complications that drive up healthcare costs.

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The findings from this study provide a critical basis for future healthcare planning and resource allocation in Slovenia. By focusing on prevention, early diagnosis, and optimized management, there is potential to significantly reduce the economic impact of diabetes. The integration of comprehensive patient education and the adoption of modern medical technologies and medications are essential components in slowing the progression of diabetes and its costly complications.


Resource: European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, May 06, 2024

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