Chronic conditions, also known as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), are long-term illnesses that may not be curable and can worsen over time. These diseases can be triggered by external and internal factors, including genetics, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, age, exposure to toxins, and more.
Chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are leading causes of death and disability in Ontario. About one-in-three Canadian adults will develop at least one chronic illness in their lifetime, with numbers expected to increase yearly. The Health Council of Canada recognizes the increase in cases and now focuses on growing awareness of chronic conditions to encourage discussions of change among the public.
The Importance of Managing Chronic Conditions
Many individuals are impacted by chronic conditions that are persistent, long-term, and negatively impact their quality of life. These conditions can affect a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks and may significantly impair their physical and mental well-being. Therefore, effectively managing chronic conditions is required to keep symptoms under control, increase patients’ capabilities, and improve their overall quality of life.
Remote patient management is an effective tool that healthcare organizations can use to slow patients’ disease progression and minimize the effects of their chronic conditions. Remote management enables healthcare providers to monitor and report patients’ symptoms outside of traditional clinical settings, and tailor personalized treatment plans to help manage their illnesses. Here, we’ll highlight key ways to minimize the effect of chronic conditions using remote patient management.
Monitor Healthcare Status Regularly
Chronic diseases require frequent check-ups and various treatments to keep a patient’s condition stable. Remote patient management allows healthcare providers to regularly monitor their patients’ health and gain real-time insights that can be used to enhance care plans. Through digital medical devices and technology, clinicians can gather more information about a patient’s glucose, heart rate, blood pressure levels, and more.
Monitoring is essential in chronic disease management as it can help providers detect early signs of disease progression. Early detection enables providers to form effective treatment plans to slow the progression of a disease or keep it at a manageable level if the patient’s condition is stable. Remote patient management also includes a patient’s account of how they are feeling, their cognitive processes, and bodily sensations which also allows their provider to adjust and improve their treatment. In the case of an emergency, remote monitoring equipment can also notify healthcare providers to respond quickly and take action in life-threatening situations.
Consult with Virtual Healthcare Providers
Regular visits with healthcare providers can strengthen relationships between patients and clinicians. A strong patient-provider relationship enhances cooperation and provides better insights into patients’ health needs and experiences. Unfortunately for some patients, getting to and from in-person healthcare visits can be a challenge, especially for those who have complex conditions or those who live in remote communities.
Virtual consultations create opportunities for providers to connect and interact with patients outside of in-person visits. With the help of remote patient management technology, patients can conveniently communicate with their provider via phone call, video chat, or secure messaging to discuss their symptoms and work towards improving or maintaining their current condition.
Follow Virtual Treatment Plans
Effective planning is key to treating and controlling the effects of chronic conditions. Personalized treatment planning involves proactive methods such as discussions with patients and healthcare providers about their conditions and setting appropriate goals to minimize the long-term effects of their chronic illness. Treatment planning is typically a six-step process involving patient preparation, goal setting, action plan development, recording, patient support, and progress monitoring.
While the treatment planning process is typically followed during in-person visits with patients, all steps can actually be carried out virtually. Treatment plans that are integrated with remote patient management systems consistently guide patients to improve their condition and reach their health goals. Virtual treatment plans also allow providers to actively track patients’ health data and adjust their treatment plans as soon as the need arises.
Improving Outcomes for Patients With Chronic Conditions
Remote patient management interventions successfully reduce the effects of chronic conditions and provide the medical resources clinicians need to care for patients. As the relationship between healthcare and technology continues to evolve, we will continue to see more and more providers and patients reducing the effects of chronic illnesses through new and improved care methods such as remote patient management.
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