Tips For a Successful Disease Management Strategy
Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, arthritis and heart disease have plagued our health system for years. In fact, 1 out of every 10 Americans has a chronic condition that causes a major limitation in activity and quality of life (1). Given this, it is not surprising that more than 70% of the annual US health care bill is related to caring for chronic illnesses. Health care spending for patients with chronic conditions is 2.5 greater than for an individual without a chronic condition, and 7 times greater for an individual living with three or four conditions (1). It is not uncommon for patients with one chronic condition to eventually develop more than one condition. Multiple conditions usually means multiple medications, multiple care providers and multiple treatment plans.
Not surprisingly, patients often have a hard time keeping track of everything and do not adhere to their prescribed treatment plans, resulting in poor health outcomes and costing our health care system millions of dollars each year. To make matters worse, physicians don’t always communicate with each other, which can lead to duplicate testing or prescribing medication that causes an adverse drug interaction and lands a patient back in the hospital. It is more important than ever to coordinate care amongst caregivers to help patients manage their chronic conditions more efficiently and effectively.
Disease management is an effective way to increase adherence and improve health outcomes while lowering costs. The key to a successful disease management strategy is to integrate multidisciplinary efforts from all healthcare providers – doctors, nurses and caregivers – to improve care quality and increase patient engagement. One way to do this is to increase physician communication and improve communication between the doctor and patient. Dr. Todd Smith, a primary care physician at HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, MN says,
“Care coordination is an area where nobody has done very well. It still feels like we’re working in silos… We have to get to the point where we’re all speaking the same language because it’s the same patient we’re taking care of. Overall coordination of care makes the patients feel like we’re invested in their care, and makes them feel like we care about their care.”
Nurses can also help improve disease management through care coordination. Nurses play an integral role in the clinical setting, but can also play a central role in helping a patient stay healthy at home. Nurse contact centers are critical for proper triage, giving advice, following up on discharge instructions and activities, performing patient outreach and engaging patients in their care. Nurses also play a tremendous role in educating the patient and their caregivers, so they have a better understanding of their disease and they know how to better manage it. Disease management can often be time consuming and difficult to track. But LinkLive Healthcare from LinkLive can help make this process faster and easier for all involved.
LinkLive is a cloud-based communications platform that makes it easy to securely connect with patients and other providers through a variety of media in one easy-to-use tool. Our HIPAA-compliant cloud-delivered solution integrates secure e-mail, web chat, virtual visits, video chat , secure desktop sharing and click-to-call in a single tool. Having these capabilities in one tool helps you where the rubber meets the road of disease management – in staying connected with your patients and in communicating and coordinating care to those patients.
1) Norris, Susan L., Russell E. Glasgow, Michael M. Engelgau, Patrick J. Os’connor, and David Mcculloch. “Chronic Disease Management.” Disease Management & Health Outcomes 11.8 (2003): 477-88. Web.