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PHC-17-2014 - Comparing the effectiveness of existing healthcare interventions in the elderly

Specific challenge: Effective health care for the rapidly growing elderly population in Europe is challenging and complex. This population is subject to frequent and numerous comorbidities, associated poly-pharmacy and impaired hepatic and renal function, as well as problems linked to access to care and compliance. In addition, while the elderly are overrepresented in terms of patient numbers, this group is underrepresented or even excluded from many clinical trials that generate the evidence-base for health care interventions.

Scope: Proposals should compare the use of currently available (pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological) healthcare interventions in the elderly (> 65 year) population (or subgroups thereof).

While there is no restriction on the diseases or interventions to be the focus of proposals, preference will be given to proposals focusing on interventions with high public health relevance, i.e. interventions addressing conditions that are particularly frequent, have a high negative impact on the quality of life of the individual and/or are associated with significant costs or where savings can be achieved.

Issues of particular relevance for the target populations, for example, poly-pharmacy, vaccine efficacy, compliance, and under-diagnosed or untreated pain should be taken into account. Given the focus on existing interventions, proposals will aim to contribute to decisions about the discontinuation of interventions that are less effective or cost-effective than others.

A comprehensive array of clinical and safety parameters, as well as health and socio-economic outcomes (e.g. quality of life, patient mortality, morbidity, costs, and performance of the health system) for chosen populations should be assessed. Agreed core outcome sets (CSO) should be used as endpoints in conditions where they already exist, in other cases efforts should be made to agree on such COS.

Randomised controlled trials, pragmatic trials, observational studies, large scale databases and meta-analyses may be considered for this topic. The study population should address gender balance where relevant.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Evidence base for more effective and safer interventions, and for enhanced compliance, in the elderly population, and the use of health technology assessment methodology in this target group. In particular:
    • Improvement of individual patient outcomes and health outcome predictability through tailoring of interventions
    • Improvement of guideline development for diseases and the management of comorbidities
    • Support to regulatory guidance in this population and provision of more accurate information to patients and prescribers

Type of action: Research and innovation actions