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Is Korea Prepared for an Alzheimer’s Disease-Modifying Therapy? Assessing the Korean Healthcare System Infrastructure and the Effect of Blood-Based Biomarker Tests

Annals of Geriatric Medicine and Research 2021년 25권 1호 p.33 ~ 38
전한경, 조상규, Yoong Joanne, Mattke Soeren,
소속 상세정보
전한경 ( Jun Han-Kyung ) - University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy
조상규 ( Cho Sang-Kyu ) - University of Houston College of Pharmacy
 ( Yoong Joanne ) - University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research
 ( Mattke Soeren ) - University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research

Abstract


Background: With the rapid demographic change in Korea, Alzheimer’s disease has become a primary concern. Recent developments in disease-modifying therapies provide hope that therapy may become available soon. The high disease prevalence and complex evaluation process will create challenges for the healthcare system already burdened by the current pandemic. This study examined the preparedness of the South Korean healthcare system to identify and treat patients when such a therapy becomes available.

Methods: We used a Markov model to simulate a stylized patient’s journey. Based on national data and expert input, we presented projections of the diagnosis and treatment wait times and respective queues of patients under treatment and no-treatment scenarios and further simulated the possible option of adopting a blood-based biomarker test.

Results: Under the current system, we estimated a peak waiting time of 14 months when a treatment became available, largely because of the limited number of dementia specialists. Adopting a blood-based biomarker test dramatically reduced the initial wait times by more than half. A disease-modifying therapy was estimated to avert 575,000 incident cases in the first 10 years after the treatment entered the market, and a blood-based test further avoided 86,000 additional cases.

Conclusion: South Korea’s healthcare infrastructure requires more preparation for the introduction of a disease-modifying therapy, with the primary capacity limitation being the low number of dementia specialists. The utilization of a blood-based test for Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers may be an effective solution.

키워드

Alzheimer’s disease; Cognitive dysfunction; Biomarkers; Republic of Korea

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