Chronic disease management and hospital care

Deakin Health Economics

Improving efficiency in the acute management of chronic disease is a focus of the Economics of chronic disease management and hospital care research stream at Deakin Health Economics. This includes understanding where the disease burden lies for specific diseases (for example, osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease); how efficiency in hospital care can be improved (for example, rehabilitation, medical emergency teams, diagnostic error and non-admitted patient services); technology-based interventions to find substitutes for hospitalisation (for example, telehealth and remote patient monitoring); and exploring alternative funding models to improve efficiency through payment incentives.

The increasing prevalence of chronic disease impacts significantly on all healthcare systems worldwide, with ongoing consequences for individuals, households, funders, service providers and communities. This is especially so for the hospital sector, where impacts are particularly high. Despite the increasing prevalence of chronic disease, health systems are characterised by reactive management to the acute exacerbation of established disease. Funding models and the preference of individuals for “a quick fix” promote acute hospital, medical care and pharmaceutical management, rather than primary and secondary disease prevention.

Our team members are experts in the analysis of case-level hospital data, including costing data, MBS and PBS data and self-reported data. Combining data sets, we have been able to model and analyse impacts of chronic disease interventions over time. The evaluation of Barwon Health’s remote tele-monitoring intervention provided insights into the value of ongoing support and self-managed care for people with diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including both savings in hospitalisation and improvement in health related quality of life.

Our Economics of chronic disease and hospital care research stream leader is Associate Professor Jennifer Watts.
Email: j.watts@deakin.edu.au