The combination of ageing populations and the sharp rise in chronic diseases is putting pressure on healthcare systems. To continue delivering high-quality care now and in the future, European healthcare systems will need to make changes that go far beyond budget cuts. The benefits of building strong, sustainable healthcare systems largely outweigh the costs while providing value for patients.
AbbVie’s extensive work and research on the sustainability issues facing healthcare systems demonstrate that three pillars are key to improving healthcare sustainability: prevention and early intervention, patient empowerment, and reorganisation of care delivery.
Across its affiliates, AbbVie has launched more than thirty pilot programmes based on these three pillars to implement and scale-up solutions to improve healthcare systems, benefitting Europe’s patients, society and economy while creating a pool of good practices. AbbVie also supported the creation of the European Steering Group in 2014, composed of a wide range of healthcare stakeholders to leverage the good practices and inform healthcare policy.
One such pilot programme is the Early Intervention Clinics, which focuses on improving outcomes for patients suffering from musculoskeletal diseases (MSD). This is one of the world’s leading causes of work disability and costs the Spanish economy an estimated €1.7 billion annually.
The clinics, developed with the help of the Spanish Fit for Work coalition (to which AbbVie is a collaborative partner and sponsor) enable patients to see specialists within a week of their temporary work disability developing, receive expert clinical management and access personalised follow-up care. A rapid approach to early diagnosis, treatment and care has proven instrumental to improving patient outcomes and enabling them to return to work.
Patients enrolled in the programme require 40% fewer days of disability leave and permanent work disabilities have dropped by 50%. The programme has shown that the Return on Investment (ROI) can amount to €11 for every euro invested by the Government and that a cross-Ministerial approach to fund such programmes would be beneficial considering the health and societal outcomes.
Estimates show that if MSD-related sick leave could be reduced by 25% in twelve European countries where similar data exists, an additional 640,000 people would be in the workforce. For the UK, this would mean almost 40,000 more people in the workforce; in France, an additional 15,000 people would be able to work. The remarkable results of this programme have led to a quick scale-up in Spain and two countries are already piloting their own model: UK and Austria.