Improving patient outcomes, building patient empowerment
Disease management is commonly defined as a system of coordinated health care interventions and communications for populations with conditions in which patient self-care efforts are significant. It’s also a system that, with its integrated approach, aims to reduce the cost of health care while increasing the quality of life for patients, particularly those with chronic conditions.
Although the term “disease management” was coined in the early 1990s, various aspects of this system have, in some form, been put to practical use throughout much of medical history; it’s a “new” idea backed by long tradition.
Today, the concept of disease management is built on various mutually supportive pillars of health maintenance including, but not limited to:
- Disease screening
- Prevention efforts
- Prognostic methods
- Diagnostic methods
- Continued monitoring of patient health states.
An ideal disease management program is one where all elements work together with an efficiency that non-integrated approaches cannot achieve. The goal is always to improve individual and community health, minimize costs from avoidable complications, and slow the progression of chronic diseases.
Many reasons for effective management
It’s hard to overstate the financial impact of managing a chronic condition such as, for example, cardiovascular disease. The CDC Foundation has reported that about one in every six U.S. healthcare dollars is spent on this condition alone, with annual direct medical costs projected to reach above $800 billion by 2030.1
Because genetics and lifestyles factor heavily into the risk of this and so many other chronic conditions, patient screening, diagnosis, treatment therapies and monitoring are an ongoing process. An integrated disease management approach streamlines this process, empowering patients with self-care strategies, improving patient outcomes and significantly reducing healthcare costs in the long term.
1. “Heart Disease and Stroke Cost America Nearly $1 Billion a Day in Medical Costs, Lost Productivity.” CDC Foundation, 29 Apr. 2015, www.cdcfoundation.org/pr/2015/heart-disease-and-stroke-cost-america-nearly-1-billion-day-medical-costs-lost-productivity.