The EFFICHRONIC project: vulnerable European citizens with a chronic condition and their care


Self-management programmes that promote healthy habits are leading to a better quality of life and therefore better health outcomes for European citizens. These interventions can also be used to help measure the cost-efficiency that results from patient empowerment.

Unfortunately, data on the cost-efficiency of programmes aimed at prevention and reduction of risk factors is scarce. This is despite their fundamental role in improving health and the impact they could have on decision makers and managers in allocating public funds. In this context, the European EFFICHRONIC project is aimed at empowering vulnerable people with chronic conditions and caregivers and assessing the impact of self-management programmes.

It has been funded by the European Union Health Programme (2014-2020) as part of the joint action ‘738127 / EFFICHRONIC’ and is led by the Regional Ministry of Health of Asturias, Spain. In the UK it is being managed by the Quality Institute for Self-management Education and Training (QISMET).

EFFICHRONIC aims to provide evidence on the positive return on investment and cost-efficiency through the implementation of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme with vulnerable people.The project focuses on vulnerable populations affected by chronic conditions and is being implemented in 5 European countries: UK, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The condition of vulnerability adds a specific dimension to the project which focuses on people who suffer economic hardship, loneliness or lack social support.

“The methodology used in the project is the Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme that has provided a positive impact on the health of individuals for over thirty years already. The programme helps people to cope with their condition and improves self-esteem and self-sufficiency of participants.” explains Marta Pisano, scientific coordinator of EFFICHRONIC and of the Active Patient Programme of the Regional Ministry of Health of Asturias.

What distinguishes the project is the inclusion of social determinantsof healthin the project design and execution.

In EFFICHRONIC, the measurement of the cost-effectiveness of the intervention and of health indicators will provide useful information for policymakers, and guidelines and recommendations will derive from its results, to be expected by 2020. The education programme is currently running in the 5 different European countries and the aim is to recruit more than 2,000 people.

Key indicators are measured at baseline and 6 months after finishing the programme. This will allow the researchers to determine the cost-effectiveness of the programme specifically in vulnerable population and the impact on health status of the participants.

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The EFFICHRONIC consortium members with Kate Lorig at a project meeting in Rotterdam, May 2019