MedUni Vienna to coordinate EU research programme PECUNIA

Rapidly ageing societies, growing populations and new health technologies have led to a dramatic increase in healthcare costs within the European Union (EU). The aim of the recently launched European project PECUNIA aims to establish standardised costing and outcome measures for optimised national healthcare provision within the EU. The three-year programme is being coordinated by Professor Judit Simon, Head of the Department of Health Economics, Center for Public Health of the Medical University of Vienna. Ten partners from six countries, each with complementary methodological and academic expertise, are taking part in the project.

PECUNIA stands for: ProgrammE in Costing, resource use measurement and outcome valuation for Use in multi-sectoral National and International health economic evaluAtions. PECUNIA officially kicks off its activities with a first project meeting to be held in Vienna on 14 – 16 January 2018.

For greater cost efficiency in healthcare provision
Between 1972 and 2010, public health expenditure has risen from 4.5% to 8% of GDP across the EU. Especially chronic conditions, multi-morbidities and mental health issues pose a major financial burden to European healthcare systems. And the trend is an upward one. The research project PECUNIA aims to tackle this challenge by developing new standardised and validated methods for the assessment of costs and outcomes of healthcare interventions within and across European countries.

In the frame of this ambitious project, Professor Judit Simon and her team from the MedUni Vienna are responsible for the overall coordination and scientific management of the project including the integration of the different methods and results into one cohesive framework – in order to achieve greater cost efficiency in European healthcare provision. "We are also heading up the development of a comprehensive range of outcome instruments and harmonised cost assessment methods, in order to establish relevant Europe-wide standards. The next step consists of applying these cost assessment methods and implementing them in the form of national cost programs over several EU countries (including Austria), in which there is still a lack of such evidence," explains Simon.

The methods and tools to be developed within PECUNIA will be used to enhance efficient and evidenced-based collaborative care models and inter-sectoral funding arrangements to improve chronic and mental health care in all EU health systems.

Multi-disciplinary collaboration between medicine, public health, health economics, economics, psychology and sociology
The research endeavour is based on a unique multi-national, multi-sectoral and multi-personal approach. "At least a quarter of the total direct cost impact of healthcare interventions affects other economic sectors, such as social care, education, the criminal justice system, employment and productivity," explains Project Coordinator Judit Simon. "Our goals are ambitious. We are joining forces from different academic fields to develop methods for the comprehensive overview of the cost and outcome impacts of healthcare interventions for European societies and to provide directly comparable solutions."

PECUNIA is funded with a total budget of €2.99 million over the next three years by the European Commission's current Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The consortium consists of ten partners with multi-disciplinary academic backgrounds in medicine, public health, health economics, economics, psychology and sociology.

Project acronym: PECUNIA
Start date: 01 January 2018
Duration: 36 months
Budget: €2.99 million
Coordination: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Judit Simon, Department of Health Economics, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna


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