Managing chronic patients is an extremely important part of our healthcare system. Not only is there now a chronic care management code but it’s widely known that chronic patients make up a huge portion of healthcare costs. The more we can do to manage chronic patients more effectively, the better it will be for patients and healthcare costs.
The problem is that West recently did a survey which illustrates that we still have a long way to go in helping patients feel comfortable with how their chronic conditions are being treated and managing chronic patients.
Here are just a few of the stats from the West survey:
You can download West’s full Strengthening Chronic Care survey results if you want to see more details.
The most disturbing stat in the above graphic to me is that 59% of patients with a chronic illness do not feel they are doing everything they can to manage their condition. On the one hand, you could suggest that all of these people are just hoping that there’s more they could do to manage their illness, but really there isn’t anything more. However, I don’t think that’s very likely. I think it’s more likely that we could do more to better help manage patients’ chronic conditions.
One of the most exciting things about technology to me is that it can connect the chronic patient with the healthcare system in between office visits. That’s a powerful idea that we really haven’t capitalized on the way we should in healthcare. As we move to chronic care management and value based reimbursement, healthcare organizations are going to have no choice but to figure this out.