Editors: Agnes E.G. Walker, James R.G. Butler, Stephen Colagiuri

Health Policy in Ageing Populations: Economic Modeling of Chronic Disease Policy Options in Australia

Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $84
Printed Copy: US $84
ISBN: 978-1-60805-817-4 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-816-7 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2013
DOI: 10.2174/97816080581671130101


In a global environment of rapid increases in health expenditures, health policies in Australia and in many other countries are currently undergoing major reforms. To contain future cost increases, accurate tools able to identify and rank ‘best value for money’ health investments are essential.

In Australia non-communicable chronic diseases – e.g. diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and mental disorders – affect the majority of the elderly, account for 70% of health expenditures, and cause poor health, deteriorating quality of life and premature death. This book focuses on how to identify ‘best value for money’ health investments within the context of on-going and future health reforms, and on quantifying the major benefits that would flow from such investments in terms of longer and better lives. This book will be of interest to general readers, social and economic researchers, and students interested in health care in ageing populations.


This book focuses on non-communicable chronic diseases, which are disabling conditions causing premature death worldwide. In Australia such diseases – e.g. diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and mental disorders – affect around 80% of older persons and account for 70% of total health expenditures. The already high proportion of Australians with chronic diseases is projected to increase significantly in future. So the ability to identify ‘best value for money’ health investments is important if future cost increases are to be contained.

Identifying ‘best value for money’ health investments is the essence of what the major research project we report on in this book is about. A new chronic disease model is described, covering the initial proposal, the model’s building and validation, and examples of its applications to assessing and ranking policy relevant prevention and treatment investment proposals.

Use of models of this kind can help identify the most effective policy interventions that could reduce the prevalence and severity of chronic diseases. To date, model findings indicate that such policies would have considerable benefits to Australians in terms of better health, productivity and well-being. Health expenditures would be lower, the pool of skilled people in the workforce would be greater, and living independently would be a possibility for a greater number of the frail old.

The book also discusses the lessons learnt from our project and from recent Australian health reforms; identifies existing and future health challenges; and puts forward possible improvements to health modeling approaches that could better account for the emerging new environment.

With its broad topic of health and ageing, the book can be of interest to the general web-searching public, as well as serving as basis of study for students and established researchers in the field.


Research for this paper was carried out under an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant, with Crystal Lee having been supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Training Fellowship. Thanks are due to the BakerIDI Heart and Diabetes Institute for making the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab) databases available for this project.

Conflict Of Interest

The author(s) declared no conflict of interest regarding the contents of each of the chapters of this book.

Agnes E.G. Walker
Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health
Australian National University


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