Prioritizing Early Disease Intervention

Caicedo, H.H., Darrow, J.J., Caicedo, J.C. et al. Prioritizing Early Disease Intervention. Ther Innov Regul Sci 57, 1148–1152 (2023).


Scholars and practitioners have described how investing in health care earlier rather than later can be beneficial, from how “biomarkers” offer promise for early disease detection to healthcare system “incentives” that can promote early preventive medicine. Work by health economists has also made clear that the “health capital” of an individual depreciates over time in the absence of investments in health. Yet, our current policy makers and healthcare system continue prioritizing care of late-stage complex symptomatic illness, often when cure is impossible and disease reversal is improbable, thus exacerbating public health burdens. Critically missing are predicates to address this challenge include the following: first, identifying and validating the specific set of presymptomatic biomarkers that will inform the most appropriate intervention timing for those medical conditions amenable to early intervention; second, shifting fundamental health economic incentives to influence the appropriate disease prevention market; and third, formulating and executing a viable economic framework of reimbursement. We examine these predicates and propose actionable policy recommendations that may help align stakeholder interests to improve public health.

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