The potential market demand for biokinetics in South Africa
Chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDLs) are on the increase in South Africa and appears to be increasing the financial burden on the economy. Biokinetics is a health profession addressing CDL, with exercise as the treatment modality. The scope of practice includes the prevention and treatment of CDL. Biokinetics as a profession has been registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), previously the South African Medical and Dental Council (SAMDC), since 1983. In this period of 25 years, the profession has only been practising in the private health care sector of South Africa. There have been no investigations to determine the market demand for this health profession. Therefore the purpose of this investigation is to determine the potential market demand for biokinetics in the private health care sector of South Africa. This investigation will take into account the potential market demand based on the patients that can be treated for CDL by biokinetics, and not the number of persons that are at risk of developing CDL. For this investigation secondary data from a pharmaceutical benefit management company (PBM) were analysed to determine the prevalence of chronic diseases in the private health care sector based on chronic medication usage in 2007. These numbers were linked to the postal codes that made it possible to determine the medication usage at municipality level. Telephonic interviews provided information about the average number of patients treated per biokineticist per month, while the number of biokineticists with active practice numbers were obtained from the Board of Health Care Funders (BHF). The results indicate that about 56% (911,212 out of 1,600,000) of the subscribers managed by the PBM were treated with medication for CDL. The prevalence of non-steroid anti-inflammatory medication (20.8%) gave an indication of medication prescribed mostly for chronic musculo-skeletal injuries. Cardiovascular diseases (13.1%), bronchodilators (10.95%) and hypertension (9.8%) were the most prevalent chronic diseases treated with medication. In 2007, the profession consisted of 284 biokinetic practices with 625 actively practicing biokineticists. The majority of the practices were located in Gauteng (130) with 63 in the Western Cape. The sub-sample of 50 biokineticists indicated that an average of 100 patients can realistically be treated by one biokineticist per month. The potential market demand calculated from these figures indicate that 9,112 biokineticists are needed in the private health care sector. These numbers indicate that in 2007, only an estimated 6.2% of CDL could potentially be treated by the number of registered biokineticists. The conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that there is an immense potential market for biokinetics in the private health care sector. This study has only investigated the diseased persons and has not taken into account those who are at risk of developing a chronic disease of lifestyle, which are also treated by biokinetics intervention with exercise as modality.