Diabetes Ireland and Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance, together with Irish Research Council have agreed to co-fund a two-year research project aimed at estimating the economic cost of diabetes care in Ireland and modelling the health impact and cost-effectiveness of implementing optimal evidence-based diabetes care and prevention services in Ireland.
Diabetes is a serious global public health issue which has been described by the World Health Organisation as the most challenging health problem in the 21st century with a high individual, social and economic burden. According to the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas 2021, Ireland is ranked 7th in the world for diabetes-related health expenditure per person. Although the economic burden of diabetes on the Irish healthcare system is now a major challenge for the government and the Health Service Executive (HSE), the economic burden is unknown, and/or vaguely estimated based on studies from other countries or conducted decades ago.
The health economic study has three main objectives: to develop a simulation model to estimate health impact and intervention effectiveness to prevent and manage diabetes in Ireland, to use the model to estimate the health impact and cost-effectiveness that could be achieved with optimal management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and screening for diabetes complications in people with diabetes in Ireland and to determine the health impact and cost-effectiveness that could be achieved through early action and lifestyle intervention to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Dr Jonathan Briody, a health economist at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences who will be undertaking the research project will provide Diabetes Ireland and policymakers with essential estimates of health and the value of intervention, while adding significantly to the Irish research infrastructure to evaluate critical health care strategies for diabetes. This is expected to present the opportunity to urgently prioritise interventions to reduce the long-term burden of diabetes for all – said Dr Briody. – I am delighted to collaborate with leads in diabetes epidemiology, care, prevention, and economics nationally, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – admitted and added, that what makes this initiative unique and state-of-the-art research is the adoption of the US-based CDC health impact simulation model to the Irish setting.
Dr Kate Gajewska, Diabetes Ireland Research and Advocacy Manager said: ‘Research and advocacy always go together, as there is no effective advocacy to change and improve care without data, proofs, and estimates. The information on the financial, psycho-social, and health-services-related burden of diabetes is missing in Ireland. We have no diabetes registry, no clinical audits, and we do not know how much we spend, how big the financial burden of diabetes and its complication is, and how these costs can be reduced by appropriate interventions – she said. – Getting the evidence and information will help us tremendously to discuss the needs for improving diabetes care in Ireland and prove to policymakers that investing in prevention and intervention strategies makes better sense (and is more cost-effective) than spending half of the yearly diabetes budget on diabetes complications.
This research is co-funded by Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance (DIRA), a subsidiary of Diabetes Ireland, the national charity supporting people with diabetes in Ireland. DIRA has the specific aim of promoting, supporting, and funding research related to the causes, prevention, and cure of diabetes. The Alliance primarily funds high-quality diabetes research projects in Ireland and raises the necessary funds to support these projects. People with diabetes who wish to support this research project can make a donation via www.diabetes.ie.