We wish to discuss the role of Modelling in Health Care. While risk factor prevalences vary and change with time it is difficult to anticipate the change in disease incidence that will result without accurately modelling the epidemiology. When detailed study of the prevalence of obesity, tobacco and salt intake, for example, are studied clear patterns emerge that can be extrapolated into the future. These can give rise to estimated probability distributions of these risk factors across age, sex, ethnicity, social class groups etc into the future. Micro simulation of individuals from defined populations (eg England 2012) can then estimate disease incidence, prevalence, death, costs and quality of life. Thus future health and other needs can be estimated, and interventions on these risk factors can be simulated for their population effect. Health policy can be better determined by a realistic characterisation of public health. The Foresight microsimulation modelling of the National Heart Forum (UK Health Forum) will be described. We will emphasise some of the mathematical and statistical issues associated with so doing.
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