The burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Asia-Pacific varies by country, but is nonetheless substantial. Collectively CVD is the leading or second-leading cause of death across the region and the prevalence continues to rise. Further, shifting demographics in the region—with both an increase in younger people experiencing CVD and ageing populations with multiple comorbidities—are putting health systems under increasing pressure.
Progress in tackling the problems associated with CVD has focussed in the primary prevention space, and age-standardised incidence of CVDs are beginning to fall. However, undermining this progress, there is still an unacceptably high recurrence rate of heart attack and stroke with associated economic and human cost. As more patients now survive an initial heart attack or stroke, the secondary event burden is likely to increase. This demands urgent attention but also represents an eminently realisable opportunity to improve care and outcomes in this group.
This analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit explores the policy response to managing secondary cardiovascular events in eight Asia-Pacific economies: Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
Key findings of the research include:
- While CVD policies do exist, some are more comprehensive than others.
- The success of translating policy on modifiable risk factors into legislation and action, along with measuring impact, is yet to be defined.
- Government audits are lacking.
- Primary care systems, a key component for integrated care, are evolving.
- Rehabilitation services exist but coverage is limited, and they struggle to recruit and retain patients.
- Integrated, coordinated patient-centred care is a necessary goal.
- Patient empowerment is essential for success.
- Maximising data and measuring progress.
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