Emerging Trends in Chronic Disease Management

Recent developments in technology are revolutionizing the healthcare industry for patients and physicians alike. Telehealth solutions, in particular, are making healthcare more accessible than ever, enabling patients to receive the care they need from any location. These trends are especially beneficial to patients living with chronic conditions, as they can now manage their condition from the comfort of their homes. As a result, an enhanced level of chronic disease management is possible - finally providing patients with the care and convenience they deserve. 

Virtual Visits

 

One of the most significant frustrations patients with chronic illnesses face is revolving their lives and routine around doctor’s appointments. Most chronic conditions require regular care, whether a routine checkup, basic health monitoring, or a minor procedure. Regardless of the reason for their visit, patients often have to meet with their provider several times a month, if not several times a week. 

For the average patient, not only is this tedious and inconvenient, but it may not be feasible for those with a job, children, or with significant commutes. As a result, it can be difficult for these patients to get the care they need without their lives revolving around the doctor’s appointments necessary for treatment. 

Fortunately, one of the greatest trends in medical technology is telehealth, which enables patients to utilize virtual visits instead of traditional in-person doctor’s appointments. Through virtual visits, patients and providers can meet as they would in person but without the inconvenience or strain of an in-person visit. Patients will still benefit from face-to-face discussions through video conferencing, but they are able to remain in the comfort of their own homes. 

This trend is highly advantageous for patients with chronic conditions as it saves them the time and effort of commuting to their doctor’s office so often. Instead, patients can simply log in to the patient portal and meet with their provider - whether at home or on the go. As a result, patients no longer need to schedule their lives around their doctor's appointments and instead receive care on their time. Patients can continue to “meet” with their provider on a weekly or monthly basis in a more time-efficient and convenient manner than was ever possible before. 

 

Remote Monitoring Devices

 

Often for patients with chronic conditions, the reason for their doctor’s appointments is for a simple status-check, particularly for those requiring medical devices to maintain their health. Such visits have been more limited to in-person visits than simple consultations, but this may no longer be the case thanks to developments in telehealth. 

For medical devices such as pacemakers, insulin pumps, or medical alert bracelets, remote monitoring capabilities could be the solution. With remote monitoring, medical devices can collect patient health data and send it into the telehealth platform. Physicians can then view this data to monitor this information in real-time, ensuring that their patient remains at healthy levels. 

Should there be a concern with a patients’ status, physicians can contact them and work accordingly. Such technology can even go beyond data collection and use automation control settings to notify physicians and emergency aid if necessary. For example, suppose a patient suffers a fall, or their heart rate becomes dangerously high. In that case, their medical device will immediately alert medical help to ensure that patients are cared for immediately. For patients with chronic conditions, such tools can save them from living inside of a hospital or bed and allow them to carry on regularly - while their health is still monitored and managed.

 

EHR and Telehealth Services

 

Another excellent benefit of the telehealth trend is electronic health records (EHRs). Traditionally, healthcare practices have used physical health records to keep track of patient data, and often these were kept in CDs held by patients. Not only did this mean that patients were responsible for storing these records, but they also had to keep them in working condition and remember to bring them to every visit. 

For many patients, this was highly inconvenient and often resulted in lost records and images. Particularly for those with chronic conditions and thus a large number of records, this was a big problem. Fortunately, with EHRs, this is no longer the case, as patients can upload, view, store, and share medical images and records electronically. Once health records are uploaded into the telehealth platform, patients and providers have complete access to them. As a result, records can be quickly retrieved for visits and easily shared for consultations and second opinions. 

With enhanced access to and storage of medical records, patients can rest assured that their health data is safe and secure - ready to be accessed at any time. For those with chronic illnesses, this ensures that patients can easily share data with specialists to get the help they need. Furthermore, this ensures that time-consuming and expensive medical images are protected at all times, eliminating the risk of lost or damaged records. 

 

ePrescriptions and Telediagnosis

 

Such capabilities in telehealth have even gone as far as to enable electronic prescriptions and diagnoses. As healthcare providers have full access to patient records and images and communication via virtual visits, physicians have all of the information they need to conduct a diagnosis or order a prescription. As a result, patients can receive such care remotely and faster than ever before. 

With a faster diagnosis - and typically more accurate thanks to developments in AI and the convenience of a second opinion - patients can receive the care at an accelerated rate. No longer will patients struggle to get an appointment - only to wait weeks to receive an obvious diagnosis. Instead, patients can quickly schedule a virtual visit with their providers, send them relevant medical images and records, and receive a diagnosis and prescription in no time. The faster such procedures can be conducted; the faster patients can begin treatment and manage their condition.

 

Chronic Disease Management is Possible Through Technology

 

Oftentimes, chronic disease management can feel like a job of its own. Outside of the physical toll a condition may take on a patient, they are also forced to schedule their lives around their condition - managing doctor’s appointments, treatment options, and prescriptions. Doing so can make it seem as though one’s life revolves around their illness, but thanks to developments in technology in the healthcare industry, patients can take back control of their condition - and their lives. 

Telehealth solutions such as virtual visits, remote medical devices, and more allow patients with chronic conditions to get the regular care they need without regularly commuting to in-person doctor’s appointments. Instead, patients can easily meet with their providers virtually, in addition to sharing medical records, finding specialists, and receiving prescriptions and a diagnosis. As a result, patients get the regular, on-demand care that they need to monitor and manage their condition - without the restriction of reporting to a doctor’s office each day.

 

Want to learn more about telehealth and what it can do for your practice? Download our case study to hear how other practices benefit from using Medicai. 

 

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