Giving Compass' Take:

• A RAND Corporation study found that a treatment for Alzheimer's disease would not reach those in need quickly because of insufficient capacity in the U.S. health system. 

• How can funders help to reduce or eliminate this problem? What existing treatments are being hindered by insufficient health system capacity? 

• Find out how foundations can accelerate health system improvement

The U.S. health care system lacks the capacity to rapidly move a treatment for Alzheimer's disease from approval into wide clinical use, a shortcoming that could leave millions of people without access to transformative care if such a breakthrough occurs, according to a RAND Corporation study.

While significant effort is being put into developing treatments to slow or block the progression of Alzheimer's dementia, little work has been done to get the medical system ready for such an advancement.

The primary problem is that there are too few medical specialists to diagnose patients who may have early signs of Alzheimer's and confirm that they would be eligible for therapy to prevent the progression of the disease to full-blown dementia. Other shortcomings include a relatively low number of specialized diagnostic scanners and too few infusion centers to deliver treatments to patients.

Researchers estimate that as many as 2.1 million patients with mild cognitive impairment could develop Alzheimer's dementia over a two-decade period while waiting for evaluation and treatment resources after approval of an Alzheimer's disease-modifying therapy by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Read the full article about Alzheimer's disease at RAND Corporation.