More investment in robust data is needed to support our case for chronic disease prevention
The prevalence and cost of chronic disease is growing in Australia and globally, causing a substantial health and economic burden. In collaboration with experts and policy partners, this Prevention Centre project developed a computer model of Australia’s burden of disease, the GoHealth model.
- The Prevention Centre is a pioneer of dynamic simulation modelling to provide synthesised advice for policy on chronic disease prevention. Dynamic simulation models are computer models that are simplified representations of the real world.
- We developed a national dynamic simulation model of chronic disease prevention, the GoHealth model. Based on trends in prevalence of nine modifiable risk factors, the model aimed to project the health burden and economic costs of preventable disease in Australia and allow scenario testing to understand how best to allocate investments and actions across risk factors to achieve the greatest impacts on chronic disease.
- To the best of our knowledge, the GoHealth model is the first dynamic simulation model in the world that captures the dynamic relationships between risk factors for chronic disease in a comprehensive way and links these to burden of disease and associated economic costs.
- Lack of consistent and reliable Australian data on risk factor prevalence meant we could not sufficiently reduce uncertainty to enable its use as a decision support tool for policy.
- However, the model demonstrates underlying behaviour in the system, enabling us to offer policy-relevant recommendations and make a compelling case for action on chronic disease prevention.
- Investments are needed in building a more robust data ecosystem to support the advanced chronic disease decision support infrastructure the GoHealth model provides.