November 30, 2016

Are we reaching the flat-of-the-curve medicine?

Health at a Glance: Europe 2016

Fifty years ago, Victor Fuchs wrote:
“Although many health services definitely improve health, in other cases even the best known techniques may have no effect.”
 Now this statement may seem obvious, though it requires close attention. In the late 1970's Alain Enthoven coined the expression: the-flat-of-the-curve medicine to describe the point where there is no marginal returns on health outcomes while additional resources are being spent. Some years ago, you may find a post on this in the blog.
Now OECD has released the Health at a Glance report and I would like to highlight a short comment:
Between 2010 and 2014, there have been virtually no gains in healthy life years for men and women in many EU countries. This suggests that greater efforts may be needed to prevent illness and disability and to improve the management of these conditions to reduce their disabling effects.
If this is so, then we are extending unhealthy life years, and  somebody should check precisely what's going on (p.57).