The Check@Home project receives almost €9 million in funding from NWO, the Heart Foundation, the Kidney Foundation, the Diabetes Fund and private partners. In the project various TOPFIT parties, including hospitals, general practitioners and universities, are working together on a large national study into the early detection of diseases with home tests. These include heart, vascular and kidney diseases, and Type 2 diabetes. The Radboudumc in Nijmegen is coordinating the study in the Arnhem region together with the Arnhem hospital Rijnstate.
The Netherlands currently lacks a national and easily accessible approach for the early detection of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney damage. Many people do not know that they have these diseases because they do not experience clear symptoms. When these diseases fail to be detected and treated early, they can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. These complications have a major impact on quality of life, participation in society, and premature death.
The Check@Home project aims to set up a new population study in which everyone in the Netherlands between the ages of 50 and 75 can test at home whether they might have these disorders. In this project, a total of 160,000 people from Breda, Utrecht, Arnhem and Eindhoven will be invited to participate in the study. The home test packs consist of a urine test, a heart rhythm test and a questionnaire. Early signs of disease will be followed by a follow-up examination at a regional diagnostic center.
Pim Assendelft, Professor of Prevention in Health Care, is involved from the Radboudumc: “With this new population study we expect to reduce the growth of the number of people with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease by a quarter over the next 10 years. If we can diagnose the disease, we can help people with targeted lifestyle advice, and medication where necessary. In this way, we greatly improve the quality of life and participation in society, while greatly reducing healthcare costs because we prevent worse.”
Radboudumc, together with Rijnstate, is taking responsibility for the implementation of the study in the Arnhem region. In addition, Assendelft is leading a large work package within the project that focuses on optimizing the process after a positive result from a home test. He says: “We are doing this by looking at the added value of a central care facility that relieves the GPs of their burden, and by paying a great deal of attention to lifestyle counseling. Doctors like to give pills, but sometimes lifestyle advice makes more sense, especially for the conditions in this project. This is another way in which we can relieve the burden on healthcare.” TU Twente is making an important contribution here.
Assendelft has been working on prevention and early detection of disease for years, including within the regional TOPFIT program, focused on healthy living. “Partly thanks to this regional cooperation, we are an attractive consortium partner for a beautiful and large project like Check@Home.”