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Harnessing AI and tech to move from cure to prevention would save lives and power economies, says Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
POSTED 17 Jan 2024 . BY Kath Hudson
The Tony Blair Institute is calling for prevention to be an urgent priority Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
New report from Tony Blair Institute for Global Change calls for moves from cure to prevention
Diagnostics, AI, health screening could all be deployed
Eighty per cent of the time people live with chronic disease is spent in the pre-symptomatic phase
With pressure on medical services at an all time high, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is calling for investment in disease prevention – treating people when they are asymptomatic.

The institute says governments are aiming at the wrong target by dealing with late stage symptomatic disease, rather than managing illness in its early, asymptomatic phase. Diagnostics and therapeutics, combined with new public health policies, could change this trajectory.

According to a new report from the institute, called Moving From Cure to Prevention Could Save the NHS Billions: A Plan to Protect Britain, although people are living longer, they're not living more healthily – 7.77 million people were waiting for medical treatment at September 2023.

This situation is causing a drag on the economy and ruining the quality of life for individuals living with chronic diseases that compromise their ability to work.

By age 75 the average Brit is 60 per cent more likely to possess two or more significant conditions, with this increasing to 75 per cent for those between the ages of 85 and 89.

The Blair thinktank says a change in approach could prevent this, halting disease progression before irreversible damage is done.

The risk factors which cause heart attacks, strokes, dementia and diabetes in later life present much earlier in the form of raised cholesterol, hypertension and increased body mass: this is when interventions should be made, including health screening and vaccination.

For example, health screening to identify low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and BMI for cardiometabolic disease. Circulating tumour DNA blood tests could identify cancer early. Genomics and artificial intelligence could be used to understand the lifetime risks carried by individuals in order to create personalised prevention plans.

A new generation of long-acting therapies could be used to manage risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure based on annual injections: effectively serving as vaccines against heart disease and stroke.

Treating someone for five years after a stroke can cost the NHS up to £45,000, while Inclisiran could prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes.

The report argues we have the tools but they are not being deployed, for example shingles vaccinations could reduce the risk of dementia by up to 20 per cent and there is emerging evidence that flu vaccines can give positive cardiovascular outcomes.

The solution is early detection, early therapy and anticipating disease with targeted prevention, to create a health system, rather than the sickness system we now operate, say the report's authors.

The new system needs to work outside, but alongside the NHS. The NHS must prioritise fixing other challenges in treatment waiting lists and acute care. This must be done in a convenient, accessible, digitised and community-based way: COVID vaccination programme showed this is possible. Finally, it is essential to effectively communicate with the public about how to proactively protect their health.

The NHS could save billions via early interventions Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov
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NEWS
Harnessing AI and tech to move from cure to prevention would save lives and power economies, says Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
POSTED 17 Jan 2024 . BY Kath Hudson
The Tony Blair Institute is calling for prevention to be an urgent priority Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock
New report from Tony Blair Institute for Global Change calls for moves from cure to prevention
Diagnostics, AI, health screening could all be deployed
Eighty per cent of the time people live with chronic disease is spent in the pre-symptomatic phase
With pressure on medical services at an all time high, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is calling for investment in disease prevention – treating people when they are asymptomatic.

The institute says governments are aiming at the wrong target by dealing with late stage symptomatic disease, rather than managing illness in its early, asymptomatic phase. Diagnostics and therapeutics, combined with new public health policies, could change this trajectory.

According to a new report from the institute, called Moving From Cure to Prevention Could Save the NHS Billions: A Plan to Protect Britain, although people are living longer, they're not living more healthily – 7.77 million people were waiting for medical treatment at September 2023.

This situation is causing a drag on the economy and ruining the quality of life for individuals living with chronic diseases that compromise their ability to work.

By age 75 the average Brit is 60 per cent more likely to possess two or more significant conditions, with this increasing to 75 per cent for those between the ages of 85 and 89.

The Blair thinktank says a change in approach could prevent this, halting disease progression before irreversible damage is done.

The risk factors which cause heart attacks, strokes, dementia and diabetes in later life present much earlier in the form of raised cholesterol, hypertension and increased body mass: this is when interventions should be made, including health screening and vaccination.

For example, health screening to identify low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and BMI for cardiometabolic disease. Circulating tumour DNA blood tests could identify cancer early. Genomics and artificial intelligence could be used to understand the lifetime risks carried by individuals in order to create personalised prevention plans.

A new generation of long-acting therapies could be used to manage risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure based on annual injections: effectively serving as vaccines against heart disease and stroke.

Treating someone for five years after a stroke can cost the NHS up to £45,000, while Inclisiran could prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes.

The report argues we have the tools but they are not being deployed, for example shingles vaccinations could reduce the risk of dementia by up to 20 per cent and there is emerging evidence that flu vaccines can give positive cardiovascular outcomes.

The solution is early detection, early therapy and anticipating disease with targeted prevention, to create a health system, rather than the sickness system we now operate, say the report's authors.

The new system needs to work outside, but alongside the NHS. The NHS must prioritise fixing other challenges in treatment waiting lists and acute care. This must be done in a convenient, accessible, digitised and community-based way: COVID vaccination programme showed this is possible. Finally, it is essential to effectively communicate with the public about how to proactively protect their health.

The NHS could save billions via early interventions Credit: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov
RELATED STORIES
HCM campaigns for fitness sector to assist with stroke rehab


HCM editor, Liz Terry, has called on the sector to step up to assist the NHS with stroke rehabilitation to avoid millions being left with life-changing disabilities.
Tony Blair Institute for Global Change calls for action on obesity following failure of 700 government policies


Without government action, economic growth will continue to be hampered by the rising cost of obesity on society says a report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
FEATURE: Talking point: Stroke rehab


With new stroke rehabilitation guideliness published in the US and the UK calling for more exercise interventions, Vicky Kiernander asks the experts how the health and fitness sector can intervene, to the benefit of patients, the sector and the medical profession
Workplace wellness – Health Foundation addresses growing crisis with creation of independent commission


An Independent Commission for Healthier Working Lives, supported by the Health Foundation, is being established to investigate the issue of declining health in the UK workforce and recommend action that can be taken by both the government and employers.
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Top operators gather from across Europe for EHFF
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ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
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PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
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