The Crippling Consequences of Chronic Disease: A New Hope

The number of people living with a chronic condition has grown exponentially in the past 15 years.  In fact, by 2025 almost half of the US will be managing at least one chronic condition.  The spotlight has been placed on this particular group of patients not only because of the ever-increasing number of individuals that continue to be diagnosed, but also because of the strain it continues to have on the economics of our nation's health care spending.  

The average cost of a person living with one or multiple chronic diseases is 5X greater than someone without chronic disease.  And, with payment reform moving towards a more pay-for-quality system, these patients can no longer be passive consumers of health care.  Actively engaging patients in the long-term management of their disease is a key component in affecting care outcomes and health care systems are on the hunt for how to transform their behavior.

mHealth has seen great success in helping patients with chronic conditions manage the vitals they must keep track of pertaining to their condition.  Studies have also shown that patients who incorporate a smartphone-based application into their disease management and rehabilitation programs have lower risk for another acute episode and, in general, lower healthcare costs.  

One of our largest clients, Avera Health has been very successful in incorporating their mobile app into their diabetes education program and providing it as a supplemental tool to their diabetic population to manage their disease.  These patients have tools to help them stay on top of their vitals, such as their blood sugar levels, weight and medication and have a clear, easy way to record this biometric data that is easy to retrieve and review with their providers.  On average, a diabetic patient at Avera records their glucose reading at least twice a day.  They feel a connection to Avera, even when they’re not in one of their facilities, sitting with one of their doctors.  And, in turn, with this data their doctor has a more clear picture of what’s been going on with their patient between visits and now has the ability to drill down on the outliers and use it to have a more meaningful conversation with their patient.

Those dealing with chronic conditions are in need of something more than just pamphlets and brochures to help them with the long-term management of their disease.  Mobile health provides patients with information and tools they need to feel empowered and engaged in their own health, especially those with chronic conditions.  Equipped with this, the diabetic patients at Avera Health are better able to care for themselves and become more active consumers and subsequently cost the health system less.