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Multiregister study in monitoring the burden of sexually transmitted diseases in Finland
Finnish national health data registers are valuable information sources to the management of infectious diseases that are not monitored under the infectious disease legislation and reported to the National Infectious Diseases Register. Our first national multiregister study on sexually transmitted diseases provides important information on the burden of genital warts (GWs) in Finland. Compared to previous data, the prevalence and direct treatment costs of GWs were high. The study was carried out by the experts at Medaffcon, MSD, and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.
GWs, caused by a human papilloma virus, are highly contagious lesions and represent one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. GWs is a significant health problem from the perspective of both patients and healthcare. Infectious diseases monitored under the infectious disease legislation in Finland do not include GWs. Thus, comprehensive up-to-date information on the prevalence and the burden of GWs in the various Finnish healthcare sectors is not directly available.
The present study utilized data linked from several national health data registers and evaluated the prevalence, healthcare resource use, and direct treatment costs of GWs in Finland in 2018. Data on public healthcare contacts, procedures in private care, and outpatient prescription medications were extracted for the individuals with a GW diagnosis recorded in public healthcare and/or a GW medication purchase. The Finnish Social and Health Data Permit Authority Findata granted statistical data utilized in the study.
Our study showed that approximately 12 000 individuals were treated for GWs in Finland in 2018. Less than half of GW diagnoses were recorded in public healthcare registers. The estimated direct treatment costs in 2018 were 2.6 M€. The costs were considerably high when compared to the previous estimation, 2.0 M€, for the years 2000–2014. These results are valuable to the management of GWs in Finland. Comprehensive recordings of GW diagnoses are important in the estimation of the actual disease burden.
Kristiina joined Medaffcon’s RWE team in the fall of 2019. She holds a PhD and her doctoral dissertation concentrated on cell biology of a rare neurological disease. After defending her PhD, Kristiina worked on projects using iPS cell technology in several different research groups for rare diseases. In addition, she has experience in the most common diseases, as she has worked with diabetic research, for example.
“In this work, we can see from the field how know-how is effectively acquired and for what purposes it is used in healthcare. I look forward to seeing the full potential of biobank sample collections for future use in RWE research, including rare diseases”.
Iiro joined Medaffcon in March 2017 as a Biostatistician. For the preceding four years, he has worked as a research assistant in an academic study group, analyzing clinical and genetic patient data. Iiro holds a Master of Science degree in Technology in Bioinformation Technology.
Iiro’s strengths include his strong expertise in statistics and data-analysis, hands-on experience in working with sensitive patient data, and strong interdisciplinary communication skills with experts from various fields. In the field, he is particularly interested in the large data amounts made available with the revolution of technology and how the information received such data can potentially be utilized to draw concrete conclusions, both in order to understand the nature of diseases and to advance the goals of the pharmaceutical industry and patient treatment.
“Machine learning and AI-based solutions will have a major impact on the healthcare sector now and in the future. However, effectively utilizing the already collected and available health-data will have a higher importance in order to improve health-care”.