An August 10, 2015 article in The Wall Street Journal examines the challenges patients with multiple chronic illnesses often meet in managing their own care. When faced with multiple medications and their associated routines, this creates an often-overwhelming burden for patients to stay on track with each of their treatment plans.
The article quotes Dr. John Piette, Director of the Center for Managing Chronic Disease at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, on the importance of empowering patients to make informed decisions around their medications and self-management, saying that the patient has to be “a proactive consumer of healthcare and in charge of managing their multiple conditions”.
The Department of Health and Human Services has taken another step in helping healthcare professionals care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, issuing a free curriculum that includes strategies to help patients and providers take on a greater shared role in managing care. One example is having providers instruct patients on which of their medications is most important to help with situations in which patients struggle to taking numerous daily medications.
While that should prove to be helpful in the in-office environment, how can that assistance extend beyond the exam room?
Research shows that communication from providers between visits can also positively impact patients’ ability to manage their health. In the TeleVox Healthy World report A Fragile Nation in Poor Health, 42% of healthcare consumers surveyed felt they could better follow their prescribed treatment plans if they received encouragement from their doctors between visits. A more narrow definition of that encouragement also uncovered opportunity for increased between-visit communication, with 35% of those surveyed believing they would do a better job following doctors’ instructions if they received reminders from their doctors via email, voicemail or text telling them to do something specific, like take medication or check blood sugar levels.
One in four Americans lives with more than one chronic illness — an unfortunate statistic that has created an enormous opportunity for providers to serve patients through increased between-visit engagement.
Do you have the tools in place to guide patients beyond the exam room? Click HERE to learn how providers have adopted notifications technology to help patients better self-manage their own care.