Rare Disease Networks : what for ?
To increase awareness of rare endocrine diseases and the visibility of care, research and education facilities on a national level, the FIRENDO network strives to provide information on available resources and to stimulate synergy among its different actors.
They aim to reduce difficulties often experienced by patients suffering from rare endocrine diseases to obtain healthcare, such as:
- Difficulty to obtain an initial diagnosis, sometimes even leading to misdiagnosis,
- Difficulty or even stopped continuity of care due to a lack of knowledge about rare diseases,
- Difficulties with illness identification and recognition leading to problems of reimbursement or recognition of rights (school integration, social support, medico-social care).
Networks are developed according to the Plan National Maladies Rares (French National Rare Disease Plan) set up by the French Ministry of Health. The latest of these plans led to a federation of the expert centres into networks. These networks, often based on an affected organ system, are called rare disease networks.
What are the advantages of uniting as a network ?
1st Rare Disease Plan (2005-2008)
The first plan enabled the creation of national centres with highly specific expertise for one or for a limited group of rare diseases. These are known as reference centres. As well as providing healthcare, these centres also have missions such as research, epidemiology and training. Each reference centre is a highly specialized hospital department surrounded by its own network of counterpart hospital departments in other French cities. The latter offer patients a local service and are known as competence centres.
2nd Rare Disease Plan (2011-2014)
One of the objectives of the Rare Disease Plan II is to encourage the union of facilities which care for rare diseases. This program can either revolve around a process shared by several diseases (e.g. intellectual development or deficiency) or focus on an affected organ system. This second option led to the creation of a national health network for rare endocrine diseases, called FIRENDO. In 2018, there were 23 health networks for rare diseases in France.
3rd Rare Disease Plan (2018-2022)
The third national plan for rare diseases was launched in mid-July 2018, continuing from the previous two plans. The national Rare Disease Networks were given a pivotal role in undertaking the 11 streamlines of this plan.