Demographic change and continuous, if not accelerated medical progress will seriously challenge our health care and its financing in the coming decades. To cope with this challenge in a rational way, we require a detailed understanding of the issues at stake based on high quality scientific evidence. This especially includes knowledge in three fields (1) the causes of the health problems and their development over time (2) the impacts of the health problems and the interventions that can be taken such as prevention and treatment, and their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness (3) the economic framework determining the financing of care, approaches to efficiently manage its delivery, and health care innovation especially in the fast developing field of biotechnology.
Tools and conditions:
Quantitative health sciences provide the tools to produce this evidence. This must integrate disciplines such as medicine, epidemiology, biometrics and bioinformatics, statistics, economics and management, and communication sciences. In this setting, successful research will be interdisciplinary and organized in networks. LMU already is endowed with appreciable resources in the respective disciplines. These cooperate for several years in a number of projects at national and international level. Also, disease registries have been built up for myocardial infarction and for colorectal cancer covering very long observation periods. Yet, so far resources are not gathered under a coherent framework, do not reach critical mass in comparison to leading international competitors, and require additional personnel to continuously collaborate in a research network. The conditions to build up such a network are significantly supported by the facts that LMU has an excellent position in medical research, that Munich industries are among the leading ones in European life science research, and that relevant outside resources add on from the GSF National Research Center.
14 LMU professors from 5 faculties have gathered to create this research center on quantitative health sciences. The research proposed covers the three mentioned fields:
Genetic, life-style and social determinants of health:Concentrating on younger age, obesity is studied. Issues include the analysis of prevalence and long-term development, of the interaction of genetic and life-style determinants, of prevention effectiveness with a focus on communication interventions, and of cost impact. With a view upon the older ages, risk scores are developed for cardiovascular disease, but also genetic determinants, incidence in high age and functional restrictions are investigated as are prevention measures and cost consequences.
Evidence-based prevention and modeling of chronic disease: As an example for evidence-based prevention, colorectal cancer is taken. Research includes the identification of target groups to address by risk communication, analysis of genetic determinants of disease development, incidence estimation, classification of functional restrictions, and the effectiveness of screening measured from registry data and analyzed in disease models. Intended for various diseases, a toolbox for population-based modeling of disease and intervention is developed. As elements is covers epidemiology, genetic statistics, statistical tools, functional measures, interventions such as risk communication and designs to evaluate prevention measures.
Economics and management:In the health care system, the incentive structures in the markets for outpatient care, hospital care and drugs as well as health insurance will be analyzed, emphasizing the role of regulation; other research covers issues of sustainable financing. For health care management, the cost-effectiveness of interventions, their budget impact and high-cost subgroups are investigated as are the mechanisms to transfer this knowledge into better patient management. A key field of innovation, biotechnology is analyzed for the example of the tissue engineering industry. Successful business models, interaction between academia and commerce, and industry development will be looked at. In general, success of biotechnological innovation in health care markets will require effective and cost-effective products; early consideration of this in the development process is analyzed, and issues in market diffusion will be investigated for the example of both highly effective and costly, individualized drugs.
Implementation and potential:
To implement the research network of the Munich Center of Health Sciences, tasks for 11 researchers have been formulated, including three leading positions. The potential to acquire grants is considered significant which is underlined by the already existing financing from this source. With health related courses already offered within the current teaching programs, with the 10-year old post-graduate study in Public Health which is planned to be significantly extended, and with proposals for executive education in the fields of life sciences and health care management the Munich Center of Health Sciences meets ample opportunity for synergy between research and education.
Fakultät für Betriebswirtschaft
Fakultät für Volkswirtschaft
Fakultät für Mathematik, Informatik und Statistik