More than 34 million Americans suffer from diabetes which is more than 10% of the US population. Diabetes is also the seventh leading cause of death in the country. In general, chronic diseases account for 90% of the healthcare spend in the country, making it an obvious candidate for new technologies to enable better and more efficient treatment.
One of the problems is diabetes patients often fail to adhere to their treatment or medication plans, which results in nearly half of diabetes patients failing to get their conditions under control. Connected health is already being used to treat many chronic conditions – and certainly has been in the spotlight this year.
Connected health tools can increase information exchange between patients and providers – and between different providers for patients suffering from multiple conditions. It can also facilitate better and more data to help develop better treatment programs for individual patients as well as more general modeling.
While the frequency of monitoring and type of medication or treatment may vary from patient to patient, diabetics need regular monitoring of vital signs and blood glucose levels to track the effectiveness of their programs.
Ongoing Monitoring –
Connected remote patient monitoring devices for diabetes, like insulin pumps, glucose monitors, blood pressure monitors, scales, activity trackers, and others can provide regular data to physicians to help them more effectively evaluate patient conditions and react quickly to any abnormalities.
Patient Empowerment –
Remote monitoring can help patients feel more in control of their own health by reducing the need for office visits and allowing patients to provide data from their homes. The increased engagement telehealth tools enable can also help increase patient awareness of their conditions and provide more motivation for following treatment plans.
Treatment Adherence –
A regular flow of communication and information between providers and patients, including automated reminders to take medications, provide vital sign readings, or do their daily activity, can help patients stay on track with their programs, helping reduce complications and allowing them to lead more normal lives.
Mental Health Treatment –
Diabetics are significantly more likely to suffer from depression than non-diabetics. Telehealth services enable patients to seek treatment for depression without geographic limitations and from the convenience and privacy of their homes.
Physician-patient Engagement –
Virtual visits provide an opportunity for patients or providers to follow up with each other about treatment, conditions, or questions without having to deal with scheduling and traveling to offices. This can increase the interactivity between patients and their providers, driving better relationships, which can lead to more engaged patients and, ultimately, better outcomes.
Time & Cost Management –
Increasing treatment adherence can reduce costs associated with additional care or even hospitalization resulting from complications when they don’t take medication. RPM and virtual visits can also reduce costs and workload for physicians and staff, who have more time to spend with other patients.
Considering there is no cure for the disease, it’s important for patients to actively manage their conditions and communicate effectively with their physicians. With such a high prevalence, diabetes is certainly prime for the connected health benefits provided via telehealth as a mechanism for improving care delivery and efficiency and relieving some of the growing burden on the healthcare community.
To learn more about how connected health and our telehealth solutions can help treat diabetes and many other conditions, connect with us here.