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Report Shows Lack of Integrated Follow-up Care Leading to Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Asia-Pacific

White paper released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Amgen, finds rehabilitation services that are key for patients to recover and prevent hospital readmission to be underdeveloped across Asia-Pacific.

According to a white paper, The Cost of Inaction: Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Asia-Pacific, found that rehabilitation services designed to keep patients well and prevent their hospital readmission is key to reducing the incidence and cost of recurring (secondary) heart attacks or strokes. However, these services across the region remain underdeveloped.

The report included a Scorecard which assessed the policy response to cardiovascular disease (CVD) across eight Asia-Pacific markets, including Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. It follows the 2018 EIU report; The cost of silence: Cardiovascular disease in Asia, which examined the prevalence and costs of the top four modifiable risk factors that contribute to CVD across the same eight markets.

It is estimated that 80 percent of CVD cases are preventable. The high risk of recurrence of heart attack and stroke, the two most fatal forms of CVD, secondary prevention through quality follow-up care once the patient leaves the hospital is essential to help minimize the healthcare and economic burden of CVD.

Mr Vernon Kang, Chief Executive Officer for the Singapore Heart Foundation shared how an increased risk of another CVD event occurring could affect both the patient and his family; also adding on to the burden on healthcare systems.

“The findings from this white paper confirms more can be done to ensure patients are supported to comply with their treatment and rehabilitation needs, and to reduce their risk of secondary disease, for which they are at high risk.” Said Mr Kang.

Other key findings from the report showed that heart attacks are on the rise among younger people across the Asia-Pacific economies examined. Also, heart disease costs USD 46.3 billion for the Asia-Pacific markets included in the report. Policies focusing on modifiable risks and CVD in those economies show the need for improvement and proper legislation.

“Empowering patients through education and awareness may help to overcome the various barriers to attendance at, and participation in, cardiac rehabilitation across the region. Cardiac rehabilitation involves multidisciplinary CVD management plans combining exercise, education and behaviour modification. Although they have been shown to significantly improve patient outcomes, the white paper revealed participation rates across Asia-Pacific were as low as 6 percent in some economies,” Mr Kang added.

Commenting on the findings, Amgen Vice President and regional General Manager, Penny Wan, said now more than ever, avoiding re-hospitalization from Cardiovascular disease, was imperative.

The Economist Intelligence Unit managing editor, Thought Leadership, Asia, Mr. Jesse Quigley Jones expressed that this white paper found that despite the availability of effective interventions and proven care models for CVD, these were inconsistently implemented across the eight economies studied.

“Healthcare systems that integrate patient-centric intervention, education and empowerment, such as electronic reminders and health records, may help to increase adherence, and subsequently improve overall patient outcomes,” Mr Quigley Jones said. [APBN]