Smarter Choices for Better Health

Better health through smarter choices 

Good health care is essential for a long and healthy life. A lot of progress has been made in recent decades, but many countries still face huge challenges when it comes to funding and delivering high quality health care. On average, health and life expectancy have improved, but there are big differences between and also within demographic groups. Lifestyle and preventive measures play an important role in this context.

Erasmus University Rotterdam aims to contribute to better health worldwide by promoting smarter choices. Since health and health care are complex themes, the Erasmus Initiative ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’ will be making a targeted investment in long-term multidisciplinary research.

Academics from the disciplines of health economics, behavioural economics, public health care and international health care are joining forces to make health care systems fairer and more effective with the existing financial resources. The results of this research will also be reflected in the curricula of Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus Medical Centre and Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management.

“‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’ will be executed on a number of different levels to map out the various factors that play a role in our health and health care,” explains Professor Werner Brouwer, dean at Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, who bears responsibility for the initiative.

The research project has the following three goals:

Help people to live longer healthier lives
Following major developments in molecular biology, computer science, micro-electronics, radio physics and many other areas, health care has acquired a much greater impact on the average person’s life over the past fifty years. As a result, health and life expectancy have considerably improved. However, many deaths could have been avoided. There is still a lot of ground to make up, particularly among socio-economically deprived groups.

Keep health care affordable and accessible in the long term
Improved health care and an ageing population mean rising costs. Financial incentives from health insurers also contribute to an increase in the number of treatments. Investments in prevention, which could limit health care costs, are lagging behind. Without effective intervention, there is the risk that health care will become unaffordable in the long run. It is therefore vital that we examine how we can achieve the best results for the health of as many people as possible with limited resources.

Increased equality in health
Although health care is becoming accessible to a growing number of people, there are still huge differences. This is very clear at the global level, with enormous discrepancies between the West and the developing countries. Less conspicuous, however, are the significant differences between population groups within Western countries. To reduce these differences, it is important to examine what the main causes of the differences in health are. Can differences be reduced by focusing more on preventive health care, for example?

Project manager:
Roel van den Berg
rvandenberg@remove-this.ese.eur.nl