In May 2017 a study on global heart health that I edited was published following a pre-launch at a major heart health conference in London in November 2016. The findings were discussed further at a conference organised by The Economist Events in Seoul in September 2017.
Heart diseases kill nearly 18m people worldwide, and the burden of disease is rising globally. In addition to the ongoing focus on reducing mortality from heart disease, the new focus is on ensuring healthy life years for increasingly ageing populations. However, our research programme adds to the growing evidence that there are significant policy gaps in promoting heart health.
Highlights from the research:
- Heart diseases kill nearly 18m people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and the burden of disease is rising globally
- A scorecard by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) highlights the need for improvement in the provision of patient-centred, integrated care for people living with heart disease
- Many countries have established strategic plans for heart health, but they are often not sufficiently comprehensive and lack adequate real-world implementation
- Additional deficiencies highlighted by the study include a lack of health status surveys, information and communications technology (ICT) adoption, access to care and monitoring systems
Significant improvements in the provision of patient-centred, integrated care for people living with heart disease are required globally, according to a new report published today (May 18th) by The Economist Intelligence Unit, Global heart health: Evaluating efforts to promote healthy hearts, sponsored by Novartis.
More than half (54%) of countries have patient advocacy organisations collaborating with government and/or national health organisations to promote heart health. However, only 11% of countries routinely use cardiovascular- or heart disease-specific health status surveys in patient assessments. And only one-quarter of countries use ICT both to deliver care (eg, telemedicine) and to collect patient data (eg, home monitoring).
Insufficient monitoring systems and inequalities in access to care undermine patient-centred heart health care. Only around one-fifth of countries surveyed have a monitoring system (such as a registry) in place for all heart diseases covered in the scorecard. Meanwhile, inequalities in access to primary and secondary prevention programmes, as well as to cardiac interventions, exist both within and between countries.
The report also found that many countries have established strategic plans for heart health, but they are often not sufficiently comprehensive and lack adequate implementation. Moreover, only one-quarter have run focused heart health campaigns for one or more specific age groups as well as for health professionals.
The report is based on a scorecard to help assess the burden of, and policy approaches to, diseases of the heart in 28 countries. It includes a set of 21 indicators to evaluate each selected country across five domains: strategic plan; public-health policies; best practice; access and provision; and patient focus.
More posts on global health:
- Anniversary: 10 years at The Economist Group
- Cancer preparedness in Latin America: The need to build on recent progress
- Index of Cancer Preparedness reveals huge gaps in health system readiness and governance
- Why the fight against non-communicable diseases starts in adolescence
- Sweden offers both best practice and room for improvement on value-based healthcare