Fragmented approach to multimorbidity leaving patients further out of pocket

Paul Hayes

14/02/2018 3:43:25 PM

New research that shows a fragmented approach to treating multimorbidity is resulting in greater out-of-pocket costs for patients is evidence of a need for a greater focus on preventive medicine, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP.

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General practice provides patients a single location to manage multimorbidity and helps to ease financial burdens, Dr Seidel said.

According to a global study led by the University of Melbourne and the National University of Singapore, the isolated management of individual chronic diseases – ie patients visiting different specialists and/or hospitals for specific diseases – is resulting in greater patient costs and placing significant strain on countries’ healthcare systems.
‘The type of piecemeal approach described in this research, and the resulting costs associated with visiting numerous specialists, adds to the already considerable burden faced by people living with multimorbidity,’ RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP.
‘We need a greater focus on the type of preventive health provided in general practice, where these patients can have their multiple issues managed in a single location by a GP they know and trust.
‘Not only is this better for the patient, but it keeps people out of the expensive hospital system and helps to ease the financial strain on Australia’s healthcare system.’
The study, ‘Multimorbidity and out-of-pocket expenditure on medicines: A systematic review’, found that a patient’s annual costs multiplied by an average of 5.2 as their number of chronic diseases increased from one to two, and by 10.1 as they rose from two to three.
These growing costs often result in patients being unable to afford medications and other medical services, with older patients and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds found to be especially vulnerable.
‘Australian patients already face some of the highest out-of-pocket costs in the world. Vulnerable patient populations should not face further financial strain due to a fragmented approach to their care,’ Dr Seidel said. ‘All Australians deserve equal access to high-quality healthcare, and patients should never be discouraged from seeking the healthcare they need due to cost.
‘A greater government focus on preventive care would help all patients when seeking the care they need.’ 

chronic-disease multimorbidity out-of-pocket-costs


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