EUGLOREH project
THE STATUS OF HEALTH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
TOWARDS A HEALTHIER EUROPE

FULL REPORT

PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS

5. HEALTH IMPACTS OF NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND RELATED TIME-TRENDS

5.11. Dermatological diseases

5.11.6. Future developments

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5.11.6. Future developments

 

What is clear from the analysis of the available data section is that: i) skin disease is very common ii) some skin diseases such as skin cancer are becoming more common; and iii) that future demand for skin services is likely to increase due to the growing consumer awareness and the society’s attitudes towards  people with skin impairments (Williams, 1997). It is evident that skin diseases can profoundly influence the quality of life of affected people and that their economic consequences can also be high. Research into the causes of skin disease is still in its infancy, but there are already clear indications that some skin diseases can be prevented to some degree. There appear to be at least four major knowledge priority gaps to be filled in relation to the epidemiology of skin disease in Europe:

The first gap is the complete absence of any comparative prevalence surveys of skin disease in general involving more than one country. Even though skin diseases have the advantage of being easily visible, such population-based surveys are difficult and costly to conduct. They nevertheless would provide an essential foundation of data on which to plan appropriate health services.

The second gap could be filled by exploring the evidence of effectiveness for the various health care systems that currently operate within Europe. Such an evaluation should begin with the usersperspective in mind. These studies could initially be observational studies based on data already collected within current systems and could, then, progress to more elaborate controlled intervention studies.

The third priority is to invest in epidemiological research that seeks to find out the causes of skin diseases which could, in turn, improve treatment and lead to a more effective disease prevention.

The fourth is to develop better links and coordination between epidemiology and laboratory research to ensure that laboratory research priorities are more guided by important clinical questions.

In conclusion, urgent research into the prevalence, incidence and cost of skin diseases is required in order to formulate more effective public health strategies to respond to the impending crisis of the increased demand for services.