Digital Health’s Role in Managing Chronic Disease
Sixty percent of U.S. adults have a chronic disease such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people have two or more chronic conditions, increasing the complexity around successfully managing them. The rate and cost of chronic diseases continue to increase, despite there being effective drugs available today and general knowledge when it comes to healthy choices. Adding in the indirect costs of lost productivity, total costs for chronic conditions are $3.7 trillion, or 19.6% of the U.S. GDP.
Chronic conditions require more seamless and continuous chronic disease management — between doctors’ appointments. In addition to requiring multiple medications, lifestyle habits often play a factor, including tobacco use, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. What happens between visits is, arguably, as important as what happens in the office. Tracking behavior and disease progression reliably can help patients adhere to a treatment plan. Digital health tools, including digital therapeutics, wearables, remote patient monitoring, coaching and education, among others, can assist with condition-specific factors. These elements include activity trackers, medication reminders, recording A1c levels, blood pressure or other vitals so that the right information is easily accessible and not drawn from memory during infrequent doctor visits.
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