Solving chronic disease management problems with telehealth
Chronic conditions come at a cost.
Roughly 90% of the country’s $3.8 trillion annual healthcare spend goes toward people with chronic and mental health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For these patients, fragmented care doesn’t just cost more, it often leads to poorer outcomes, with more emergency room visits, unnecessary services, and insufficient communication with providers.
In the world of chronic disease management, care coordination services have long provided an important tool for delivering better care, managing expenses, and improving communication. After the COVID-19 pandemic led patients to embrace virtual care, providers seized the opportunity to use remote patient monitoring solutions to boost efficiency and cost-effectiveness while still delivering the highest quality of care.
Curious how you can harness the technology to benefit your patients? Read on for three major problems you can address with care coordination services.
Problem 1: Poor communication in chronic care management
Good communication is critical to delivering high quality patient care and it is foundational to provider-patient relationships. When patients feel heard and understood, providers are better equipped to provide the appropriate treatment. Those benefits continue long after the appointment ends — the same patients are more likely to adhere to prescribed treatment plans.
When it comes to telehealth for chronic disease management, the advantages are profound. It offers easy communication with providers — no endless phone tag or missed voicemails. Remote patient monitoring shares data with connected care teams and eases the administrative burden of frequent office visits. And with interoperable platforms, providers can send and access information to provide collaborative care with better outcomes.
Problem 2: The high cost of chronic disease care
Not only does chronic care account for most U.S. annual healthcare expenditures, people with chronic conditions also account for more than 60% of emergency department visits, according to the CDC. Among these patients, a prominent risk factor is fragmented care.
Care coordination services don’t just keep chronic care patients out of the hospital, it helps them streamline office visits and minimize missed appointments, too. Between 2018 and 2019, the median patient no-show rate at practices increased from 5% to 7%, according to MGMA. The onset of the COVID-19 caused further disruption to schedules, contributing to a 55% average revenue decrease in the early days of the pandemic.
In the post-COVID healthcare landscape, chronic care management includes utilizing a full array of virtual tools to minimize office visits and prevent unnecessary emergency room visits. Remote patient monitoring devices — such as blood pressure cuffs for stroke patients or glucometers for diabetic patients — can collect and securely transmit data to care teams. Providers can adjust treatment plans, contact patients with additional information, or even detect issues before they escalate to emergency department visits.
Problem 3: Workflow inefficiencies for chronic disease management
Primary care providers shoulder a considerable workload when it comes to caring for chronically ill patients. Each visit carries an administrative burden, and inefficient workflow can drag down every step of the process.
Scheduling and check-in, patient phone calls, insurance eligibility verification, medication refills, claims and billing, managing test results, and dealing with no-shows are all common causes for inefficient care delivery and higher costs, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). For chronic care patients with multiple appointments each month, inefficiencies can add up quickly, along with potential costs.
Providers can combat these common inefficiencies with electronic health record (EHR) and practice management systems that streamline administrative tasks, simplify documentation, and decrease time spent on billing and scheduling. Practice analytics tools also help providers assess the health of their practices and identify areas for improvement. And patient engagement tools encourage patients to skip phone calls and send secure messages that can be answered by the appropriate staff — avoiding phone tag.
Remote chronic care management solutions can relieve even more of the administrative burden on already-busy providers and staff. Virtual patient care tools can supply patients and caregivers with health coaching and medication information to promote adherence to treatment plans.
A seismic shift in chronic care remote patient monitoring
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a seismic shift in how patients engaged with care — they turned to telehealth and remote monitoring. Patient receptivity to remote care represents an enormous opportunity for practices to improve care for chronically ill patients while tackling issues such as poor communication, high costs, and workflow inefficiencies.
Providers who leverage the right software solutions for chronic care management are better positioned to provide streamlined care with better patient outcomes.
Maximize your care coordination strategy by combining chronic care management (CCM) with remote patient monitoring (RPM).