Chronic disease is by far the leading cause of death and healthcare costs in the United States. Just take a look at the stats in our chronic care infographic below: 70% of all deaths are due to chronic disease. 86% of healthcare costs are spent on chronic care. Half of all U.S. adults have one or more chronic diseases. In 2010, we spent $157 billion on cancer care and $190 billion on obesity-related illnesses.
Since 2010, these numbers have only gone up. And with the U.S. spending more on healthcare per person than any other country, we need to look for better ways to fight chronic disease, and improve the quality and cost-efficiency of chronic care for milllions of Americans.
As most doctors know, three simple things could have a huge impact on preventing chronic disease: eating healthier, exercising more, and quitting smoking. In fact, according to the CDC, we have the power to reduce the occurrence of cancer by 40% and Diabetes (type 2) by 80%. That's huge! But how do we actually get people to make those changes in their daily lives?
The mHealth movement is one way to leverage technology in the fight against chronic disease. 96% of patients think mHealth apps could help improve their care, and many are already using them. A simple app recommendation from a physician could help give patients that extra boost to track their snacking and their workouts.
Engaging patients with new tech, like apps or virtual care, can make it easier for them to check-in and to take control of managing their health. Mixing telemedicine with chronic care could have a huge effect on empowering patients to get healthier, making chronic care follow-ups easier for both physicians and patients, and cutting down hospital readmissions and unnecessary ER or urgent care visits - all these effects can add up to more effective chronic care and lower healthcare costs. Everyone wins.
Now that Medicare has added CPT 99490 Chronic Care Management to the list of covered telemedicine services, the partnership between chronic care and telemedicine is even more feasible.
So, let's get moving and advocate for mixing health tech with chronic care! Please share with your colleagues and your patients!
Thanks to all our sources: