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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Economic efficiency of primary care for CVD prevention and treatment in Eastern European countries

Titus Slavici12*, Claudiu Avram3, Gabriela Victoria Mnerie2, Adriana Badescu2, Doina Darvasi2, Florin Molnar-Matei2 and Mihai Aristotel Ungureanu4

Author Affiliations

1 Politehnica University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania

2 Department of Economics, Ioan Slavici University, Timisoara, Romania

3 Physical Education and Sport Faculty, West University of Timisoara, Romania

4 Faculty of Internal and International Commercial and Financial-Banking Relations, Romanian American University, Bucharest, Romania

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:75  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-75

Published: 23 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, but it also is highly preventable. The prevention rate mainly depends on the patients’ readiness to follow recommendations and the state’s capacity to support patients. Our study aims to show that proper primary care can decrease the CVD-related morbidity rate and increase the economic efficiency of the healthcare system.

Since their admission to the European Union (EU), the Eastern European countries have been in a quest to achieve the Western European standards of living. As a representative Eastern European country, Romania implemented the same strategies as the rest of Eastern Europe, reflected in the health status and lifestyle of its inhabitants. Thus, a valid health policy implemented in Romania should be valid for the rest of the Eastern European countries.

Methods

Based on the data collected during the EUROASPIRE III Romania Follow Up study, the potential costs of healthcare were estimated for various cases over a 10-year time period. The total costs were split into patient-supported costs and state-supported costs. The state-supported costs were used to deduce the rate of patients with severe CVD that can be treated yearly. A statistical model for the evolution of this rate was computed based on the readiness of the patients to comply with proper primary care treatment.

Results

We demonstrate that for patients ignoring the risks, a severe CVD has disadvantageous economic consequences, leading to increased healthcare expenses and even poverty. In contrast, performing appropriate prevention activities result in a decrease of the expenses allocated to a (eventual) CVD. In the long-term, the number of patients with severe CVD that can be treated increases as the number of patients receiving proper primary care increases.

Conclusions

Proper primary care can not only decrease the risk of major CVD but also decrease the healthcare costs and increase the number of patients that can be treated. Most importantly, the health standards of the EU can be achieved more rapidly when primary care is delivered appropriately.

JEL

I18, H51

Keywords:
Cardiovascular diseases; Prevention; EUROASPIRE III Romania Follow Up; Economic burden; Cost improvement