When running a healthcare practice, freeing up resources is a challenge for many. A lot of practices forget about their most important asset: time. 

Telehealth can help practitioners save time in various ways. It can reduce wasted hours spent waiting for patients who don’t show up, while also reducing the health and financial implications of discovering chronic conditions too late. 

This article looks at four ways telehealth solutions like remote care help practitioners use their time more efficiently.

 

How Time Affects Patients

 

For chronic illness sufferers, the impact of having a full-time job – and not one where they’re allowed to work remotely – can put a strain on them. While the OECD Better Life Index puts the percentage of Americans working long hours at 11.1%, research elsewhere found that average commuting lengths increased between 2006 and 2019. 

 

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Chronic illness sufferers who need to travel longer to their jobs are at a disadvantage as practitioners’ office hours often don’t fit their availability. Patients might choose to avoid getting help because it’s inconvenient. Individuals with a chronic illness might also struggle with other commitments.

Modern life is fast-paced and stressful; looking after family members and raising children likely takes up just as much time as their jobs. This contributes to their difficulty getting to their healthcare providers’ offices. When conditions are left unmanaged or untreated, this results in a worsening of their condition.

And when a patient doesn’t show up at their appointment, it costs the practice both time and money. 

 

How Telehealth Saves Time

 

More Patient Flexibility

 

The adoption of telehealth needs to be a two-way matter. Regardless of how carefully planned a practice’s strategy is, it means nothing if they can’t encourage patients to use these solutions

The good news is that patients are very interested in telehealth. According to research carried out by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, 73% of survey participants who had tried out telehealth said they’d do so again in the future. This is crucial because it shows that patients will likely be more flexible in embracing such care—especially since the research revealed that most were satisfied with responsible data use and the levels of communication. 

Remote monitoring and other telehealth solutions help to increase patient flexibility because they can book appointments at times that suit them. Moreover, patients can choose to tailor their services better, which will increase engagement. In the long run, practitioners will save time because they don’t need to follow up with non-engaged patients.  

 

Identifying Conditions Early 

 

One massive challenge with tackling chronic illnesses is that often patients don’t suffer from just one. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) ’s 2018 National Health Survey, 51% of participants in the US had at least one of 10 outlined chronic conditions, and 37% had two or more. 

In many cases, comorbid chronic illnesses develop over time. If they stay undetected, they can cause even more and put additional strain on practitioners’ time.  

Telehealth can help healthcare providers identify conditions early because they enable round-the-clock monitoring. As such, doctors can take action when they see problems developing. 

After identifying possible illnesses, practitioners can provide guidance and a preventative care plan to the patient. This support prevents follow-up visits and helps to reduce the amount of time practices need to spend on treating conditions. 

 

Respond to Changes in Condition Faster

 

Patient oversight isn’t only necessary for monitoring additional chronic illnesses that might develop; it’s also helpful for keeping existing conditions under control. 

If patients and doctors only communicate at occasional physical appointments, a patient’s condition may have changed drastically since the last catch-up. Their needs will have changed. 

With remote care, practices can gain a better overview of the patient’s real-time condition. Because of this, they can adapt quickly and change the treatment they offer. This will help the patient keep their illness in check, thus lowering the chances of hospitalization—and allowing those caring for them to allocate their time elsewhere. 

 

Reducing Cancellations 

 

Cancellations and no-shows have their financial implications, but it’s also essential to consider the time wastage. This is even more so with no-shows because practices only have a limited number of appointment slots they can open up each day. 

Research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that patients miss their appointments for several reasons, including:

Remote care can help reduce cancellations and no-shows because they don’t require that patients leave their homes. Moreover, they can schedule their maintenance around their lifestyle – rather than needing to do the opposite. Thanks to this, doctors avoid wasting their time waiting around for patients who don’t show up—and practices can also increase their bottom line. 

 

How ChronWell Can Help 

 

ChronWell offers a broad suite of telehealth solutions that enable practices to meet their patients’ needs better. Providers can use services designed specifically for chronic illness sufferers, helping them to significantly improve their patient experience. 

 

Using ChronWell’s remote monitoring services, healthcare providers can ensure that patients show up to appointments—and enjoy an improved capacity for adapting to ever-changing conditions. 

 

Contact an expert today to find out how ChronWell can help you improve your practice’s approach to remote care.

 

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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is linked to an increased risk of developing several secondary health conditions, including cancers outside the liver, according to new findings. The problem is, diagnosis is difficult: NAFLD is often asymptomatic, which makes it difficult to catch this growing disease in its early stages.

 

In this article, we’ll look at the complications of ignoring NAFLD, then offer some tips on managing it and spotting the symptoms before the disease triggers secondary problems. 

 

What is NAFLD?

 

NAFLD refers to a range of liver problems that affect those who drink little to no alcohol. It’s becoming increasingly common, especially in countries where obesity is a problem. In the U.S., it affects approximately 25% of the population

 

Some of those with NAFLD go on to develop nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This may then lead to scarring (cirrhosis) and liver failure. 

 

Cirrhosis means valuable liver tissue is taken up with scar tissue, limiting its ability to effectively process toxins (Image Source).

 

CNBC reports that deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis have risen every year since 2007. It is now among the top 12 leading causes of death for Americans

 

Symptoms

 

Most people with NAFLD experience no symptoms beyond mild fatigue and abdominal pain, usually on their right side. “This is a silent disease and typically there are no symptoms until it is advanced (it can lead to cirrhosis),” says Dr. Sumit Kapoor, a gastroenterologist at OhioHealthDoctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

 

Symptoms of NASH and cirrhosis include: 

 

Risk Factors of NAFLD and NASH 

 

Experts haven’t agreed on one single cause, and there’s limited understanding of why some with NAFLD go on to develop NASH and cirrhosis while others don’t. That said, there are a number of health conditions linked to both NAFLD and NASH:

 

 

All of these symptoms promote the deposit of fat in the liver, which can lead to inflammation and a buildup of scar tissue. 

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NAFLD—and especially the more progressive form of the disease—is predominantly linked to obesity. 

 

“Obesity and diabetes rates are very high in the U.S. and are also increasing worldwide,” says Dr. Rohit Loomba, chairman of the American Liver Foundation’s National Medical Advisory Committee. “So when we look at the rising rates of NASH in people who don’t drink and don’t have hepatitis C yet are still developing cirrhosis of the liver, we know something is damaging the liver and we’re not containing it.” He adds that 90% of the patients diagnosed with NASH are either overweight or obese. 

 

How NAFLD and NASH Are Diagnosed 

 

It’s difficult to identify NAFLD and NASH without testing. Dr. Jay Horton, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says an individual will usually find out they have NAFLD during a liver function test or if they have an abdominal scan for some other reason, such as gallstones. “Even though they’re finding out about it almost by accident, it’s actually very easy to detect excess liver fat with an imaging modality, such as an MRI, CT scan or ultrasound,” he adds.

 

A biopsy is currently the gold standard when it comes to diagnosis. However, they are expensive and come with a small risk of bleeding. “Although this invasive test could be performed by hepatologists, the number of these specialists who have both the expertise and comfort to execute, order or interpret a liver biopsy is very low as compared to the number of suspected NASH patients,” says Pascaline Clerc, the U.S. campaign manager for the NASH Education Program. “Nonetheless, noninvasive tests like an ultrasound or MRE are recommended by the current guidelines of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.”

 

Complications 

 

The main complications of NAFLD include cirrhosis, which, if left untreated, means scarring takes up more and more liver tissue, reducing its function. If this process isn’t stopped, it can lead to more complications, including: 

 

 

“This large meta-analysis suggests that NAFLD is associated with a moderately increased long-term risk of developing extrahepatic cancers over a median of nearly six years (especially GI cancers, breast cancer and gynecological cancers),” says Giovanni Targher, MD, of the University of Verona in Italy.

 

Studies also show that NAFLD can be passed down from generation to generation. “What o

ur study is saying is that maternal pre-pregnancy obesity is causing an early life effect to prime the [offsprings’] livers to develop fatty liver, making them vulnerable to environmental hits such as a hyper-calorific diet, or a western diet, which will increase their risk of developing more advanced liver disease,” said Dr. Kushala Abeysekera, of the University of Bristol.

 

How to Prevent NAFLD and NAFLD-Related Complications  

 

Dr. Horton says lifestyle changes are still the most effective first-line approach for dealing with the disease. 

 

“Weight loss works, whether through a bariatric procedure or a strict dietary approach,” he says. “Even an 8 percent to 10 percent weight loss seems to improve liver fat.” 

 

“Stay thin,” he adds. “The key is insulin resistance related to obesity. Anything that helps you to stay thin and have normal insulin sensitivity will prevent this disease.”

 

 

ChronWell offers a wide range of digital health and clinical solutions to help healthcare providers diagnose and treat NAFLD and provide chronic care management. Practitioners can provide round-the-clock support while also allowing patients to receive healthcare no matter where they are

 

Practitioners can also use ChronWell to develop customized programs, helping them offer the highest level of service. The technology, including high levels of encryption, is some of the most reliable in the industry. 

 

If you want to find out how ChronWell can help your practice provide better support and operate more efficiently, contact an expert today

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Telehealth has come a long way over the past few years and its uptake numbers have greatly increased. During the pandemic, the technology offered healthcare institutions a way to allocate resources better and reach vulnerable patients. Remote care is efficient and effective, and it’s here to stay. The technology will continue to play an essential role in healthcare efforts after the pandemic. 

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of telehealth and how it can be used to ensure patients get the best possible care.

 

How Telehealth Has Evolved Over the Years

 

Despite its recent increased uptake, telehealth isn’t a new concept. The term “telemedicine” first appeared in the 1970s, according to a paper published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010.

In recent years, technological advancements have seen telehealth evolve significantly. Remote patient monitoring (RPM), also known as remote care, is one form of telehealth used by practices to track the health and progress of patients. 

Chronic care management (CCM) solutions allow practices to better cater to patients’ individual needs.

 

How Telehealth Is Helping Patients

 

For patients, the benefits of telehealth are wide and varied. During the pandemic, virtual care allowed patients to avoid places with a high risk of infection. Once the pandemic is over, patients will still benefit from not needing to travel long distances—especially chronic illness sufferers, who need regular check-ins to keep up with their treatment.

By bringing care to the home, practices can provide consistent support, improve patient care plans, and boost their overall well-being. Instead of sticking to clinic opening hours, they can do so whenever is best for the patient. Individuals can fulfill their daily duties, such as working and looking after their families. 

Above all, telehealth is increasing access for patients who would otherwise be left without. Telehealth visits cost $79 per session. In comparison, in-person visits usually cost around $146.  Telehealth also means that people living rurally can receive the support they need. 

 

The Role Telehealth Will Play in Healthcare Post-Pandemic

 

It’s unrealistic to expect that telehealth will entirely replace in-person visits even once the pandemic is over. However, the two treatment options will work in tandem. 

In a post-COVID world, practices will focus on using telehealth for consultations to identify symptoms early on and manage patient care plans remotely. Patients will still need to visit clinics for in-person care and procedures. 

Another area that telehealth will improve is coaching and education. It’s difficult to have all of a patient’s questions answered during a short office visit with a physician. Fortunately, telehealth offers opportunities to provide access to online resources and more convenient consultations.

Mental health improves with remote care, as well. According to research conducted in 2020 by Mental Health America, almost 83% of participants said their work was emotionally draining. Meanwhile, one in three said they couldn’t afford their healthcare costs. 

Telehealth offers assistance in both areas. Employees can receive mental health support virtually, while the cost is lower than if they were to solely rely on in-person visits (where they would have to alter their work schedule to fit them in). 

 

Barriers to Patients Getting the Best Possible Care via Telehealth

 

Despite telehealth’s benefits and the promise it offers, some barriers do exist to giving patients the best possible care via remote access. 

One area of concern is how worried patients might feel about their privacy. In 2019, Pew Research Center found that 81% of participants in a survey said the risks of companies collecting data about them outweigh the benefits. Patients need assurances about how their data will be handled and protected.

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The availability and quality of internet access might also impact the speed of telehealth adoption. In New York, for example, the average internet speed is 190.5 megabytes per second and broadband coverage is 96.8%. Comparatively, Mississippi has an average internet speed of 84.5 megabytes per second, and broadband coverage is significantly lower, too, standing at 58.7%. 

These gaps in internet access could lead to significant gaps in healthcare access for patients in less technologically advanced states—and it most certainly will lead to a slower uptake in some areas. 

 

How to Overcome These Barriers

 

To overcome problems related to remote care and other forms of telehealth, education is critical. Practices must offer training for patients and help them set themselves up accordingly, especially if they’re working with individuals who aren’t tech-savvy. 

It’s also vital that clinics explicitly show how they will use patients’ data. They must ensure patient privacy, show that they will not use it for financial benefit, and clarify how the information will be disposed of once they’re finished with it. 

When it comes to the internet, practices must factor in internet connection speed levels in different states. But it’s not only up to them; internet providers must build a more robust infrastructure in parts of the country that need it. This will likely take a long time, but making the first steps now is essential for a healthier nation.

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

ChronWell offers a range of remote care solutions that can be used in states with a broad range of internet connection levels. Clinics can also benefit from tailored solutions to help deal with long-term illnesses. With ChronWell, practices will also get user-friendly software that makes it easy to set up both on their end and for the patient. 

To see how ChronWell’s digital health and clinical solutions help practices offer more effective healthcare, contact an expert today. 

 

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“Long COVID” is one of the less-discussed consequences of COVID-19. It affects patients who have recovered from the infection—or thought they had.

In the UK, the healthcare sector is rolling out a digital program to help treat this illness. Other countries have also taken their own digital approach. But how are these measures managing symptoms? 

Let’s take a look at what long COVID is and provide viable solutions to help practitioners manage the problems it causes for patients. 

 

What Is Long COVID, and What Are the Symptoms?

 

Long COVID refers to the condition occurring when patients show COVID symptoms even after recovering from the primary COVID-19 infection. The chart below shows the prevalence of the 15 most common long COVID symptoms 30 days after the infection.

 

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How Long COVID Is Putting a Strain on Healthcare Systems

 

A vast number of people contracted the COVID-19 virus, and it is reported that 25% of sufferers will see long COVID symptoms. The scale of care required to address this number of patients is yet to be understood, but hospitals need to reallocate resources and focus on treating these individuals for the long run.  

Long COVID also significantly impacts healthcare systems when workers develop symptoms. In the UK, for example, the Guardian said that the Office of National Statistics (ONS) pointed out that at least 122,000 staff were suffering from long COVID. 

In the same article, Dr. Helena McKeown, British Medical Association Healthcare Lead, said: 

“With around 30,000 sickness absences currently linked to COVID in the NHS in England, we cannot afford to let any more staff become ill. Simply put, if they are off sick, they cannot provide care, and patients will not get the care and treatment they need.”  She continued, “In the longer term, if more staff face ongoing illness from past COVID-19 infection, the implications for overall workforce numbers will be disastrous.”

 

What Long COVID Means for Existing Chronic Illness Sufferers

 

In October 2020, King’s College London published research looking at which groups are at the highest risk of developing long COVID. Individuals with more symptoms in the first week of infection, the report said, were at a higher risk of suffering prolonged consequences. 

Many chronic illness sufferers, such as those with diabetes, are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. 

The increased risk of getting long COVID poses numerous threats to physical health. However, it will also impact patients’ mental well-being. Managing one chronic illness drains both time and energy, let alone with the burden of other complications. 

Those suffering from long COVID face the strain of illness, time, care, and attention they must devote to their daily well-being, and may also need to spend even more money on healthcare costs. 

 

Challenges Practitioners Face

 

Staff shortages are already a big issue, but long COVID also causes problems for practitioners because of how complex it is. Patients can suffer from a wide range of symptoms, meaning that institutions must prepare for all possibilities. 

Practitioners must also be careful not to allocate all of their resources to the primary symptoms of COVID-19. As a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in the UK said: 

“People living with Long COVID have indicated that they feel abandoned and dismissed by healthcare providers and receive limited or conflicting advice.” 

Practitioners must attend to patients’ needs after the initial coronavirus symptoms have passed. Expecting a percentage of patients to develop long COVID and forming strategies to treat them is crucial.

 

How Chronic Care Management Makes It Easier for Practitioners to Support Their Patients

 

In March 2021, it was announced that a digital healthcare solution would soon roll out in the UK for treating long COVID. The solution will work in conjunction with new treatment centers that have opened throughout the country. However, these measures are expensive and are not available everywhere.

Telehealth is a more accessible option, and it helps practitioners support their patients in various ways. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) and chronic care management can ensure that all patients get the support they need when they need it. 

Digital healthcare solutions also enable practitioners to provide advice that will assist patients with their recovery. For example, they might point out how they can avoid fatigue or recommend an exercise routine that will help them protect their mental well-being. 

Telehealth also gives practitioners a way to measure their patients’ progress outside of appointment times. Medications and care routines can be adjusted as soon as it’s necessary to do so, helping to reduce the risk of developing more severe symptoms.

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

ChronWell offers a broad range of telehealth solutions to help practitioners diagnose and treat long COVID, as well as other chronic conditions. Practitioners can provide round-the-clock support while also allowing patients to receive healthcare no matter where they are

Practitioners can also use ChronWell’s CCM to develop customized programs, helping them offer the highest level of service. The technology is some of the most reliable in the industry with highly secure encryption levels. 

To find out how ChronWell can help your practice provide better support and operate more efficiently, contact an expert today

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COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on mental health, and we’re only beginning to see the extent of it. Almost 41% of US adults in a survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported mental health or substance use struggles during the pandemic.

“At any given time in the United States, about one-fifth of Americans have a diagnosable mental illness,” Dr. Joshua Gordon, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, tells CNN.

 

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“It does appear that the rates of reporting of symptoms have increased from that baseline — so that we’re seeing as much as 30% or 40% of Americans reporting symptoms,” he says, adding that it shows an approximately two-fold increase over what would have been expected, pre-pandemic.

 

Despite this, there is a silver lining—demand for mental health professionals has boomed as people seek much-needed help—and telehealth is helping practitioners fill that demand. 

 

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Mental Health Worldwide 

 

“The physical aspects of the pandemic are really visible,” said Lisa Carlson, the immediate past president of the American Public Health Association and an executive administrator at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “We have supply shortages and economic stress, fear of illness, all of our disrupted routines, but there’s a real grief in all of that.”

 

“We don’t have a vaccine for our mental health like we do for our physical health,” Carlson added. “So, it will take longer to come out of those challenges.” 

 

Some of the mental health issues we’re seeing include burnout, interrupted sleep patterns, anxiety, and depression; which have been exacerbated by work instability, collective trauma, isolation, and sedentism. Furthermore, some behaviors thrive in isolation—such as drug use and unhealthy eating patterns. 

 

“Not only do eating disorders thrive in isolation,” says Chelsea Kronengold, the communications manager of the National Eating Disorders Association, to CNN. “There is also added anxiety and guilt about the possibility of running out of food and/or having too much food available at all times.”

 

Why Patients and Providers Are Embracing Telehealth 

 

The use of telehealth has boomed during the pandemic. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also revised rules to allow expanded services via telehealth. It’s proving massively popular and isn’t showing signs of slowing down: The global telehealth market is projected to reach $266 billion by 2026, according to data from Fortune Business Insights, almost quadrupling 2019 levels. 

 

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“You’re able to see a therapist in your own home, you don’t have to rely on transportation or childcare. I do think that that helps, once you’re in treatment, to be able to access it. But we still have a pretty substantial problem within the healthcare system in having enough providers for the people who need them,” says Dr. Vaile Wright, senior director of Healthcare Innovation at the APA.

 

Another big benefit to telehealth services is flexibility. You don’t need to be suffering from severe depression or anxiety to benefit: with coaching, guided meditation, and counseling, patients can keep on top of their general health well-being. This has the added benefit of stopping issues before they snowball into something more serious. 

 

“It’s essential to make your health a priority during this time. The critical self-care activities are sleep, physical exercise and a healthy diet,” says Katherine Ponte, who founded the online peer support community ForLikeMinds and lives with bipolar 1 disorder. 

 

“Find ways to address forms of stress, such as journaling, going for walks or calling a loved one. Maintaining a sense of normality and routine can also reduce stress,” she adds. “It can be especially helpful to practice mindfulness and try not [to] think of the future or worst-case scenarios.”

 

Mental Health + Telehealth: What’s Next?

 

The digitalization of mental healthcare promises to usher in a stronger health infrastructure and a more accessible, robust way for patients to access the support they need—while also promoting preventative treatment, reducing costs, and lowering administration duties for healthcare professionals. 

 

The uptake of mental health support services via telehealth has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and it’s unlikely it’ll fall back down to pre-pandemic levels now we’ve seen the potential. 

 

Despite this, there are issues to be addressed. Data is still a concern: one 2020 study by KPMG found that 54% of participants did not trust companies to use their personal information ethically, while 87% would argue that data privacy is a human right. Meanwhile, those with poor internet connections will struggle to access the care they need, while older patients may have trouble with the technology compared to their younger counterparts. 

 

Education and support are key. Healthcare professionals need to guide their patients through the technology so they feel confident using it. If they don’t, they won’t—it’s as simple as that. Practitioners should also ensure patients’ data concerns are addressed, both through investing in secure technology and giving patients the information they need. 

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

With its easy-to-use interface, secure privacy policy, and comprehensive services, ChronWell can help connect patients with mental health professionals efficiently and securely. 

 

Our comprehensive telehealth and RPM solutions improve the coordination between doctors and patients. We also offer tailored programs, in addition to medication management and patient information. Patients get round-the-clock medical attention, more than one condition can be monitored, and monthly progress reports are available. 

To ensure every patient’s privacy, we perform internal and external audits, and only partner with companies that are HIPAA and SOC2 certified. Our technology was designed from the ground up, and we train employees extensively on how to spot and prevent security risks.

If you’re interested in how ChronWell can help your institution better manage patient mental health and other chronic illnesses, please get in touch with one of our experts today. 

 

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The impact of COVID-19 on mental health has been devastating. Even as vaccinations continue to be distributed worldwide towards an end to the pandemic, the extent of mental health issues has become more evident. Many individuals struggled through more than a year of isolation having to manage changes in their physical and mental health, as well as managing access to healthcare. For chronic illness sufferers, this is compounded by the increased risk of in-person hospital and clinic visits, or not doing so and having their symptoms worsen. 

Fortunately, digital healthcare is leading the way to providing chronic illness patients with the care they need via Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), telehealth, and telemedicine. But how badly has the pandemic impacted people’s mental health? Here’s how, and why protecting chronic illness patients’ mental health is vital. 

 

How COVID-19 Has Affected Mental Health

 

In many countries, COVID-19 forced the toughest restrictions on human freedom since the Second World War. 

UK mental health charity Young Minds surveyed over 2,400 people during the winter lockdown in January 2021. Of the participants, 44% said that this lockdown was much more challenging to cope with than the first one in spring 2020. 

The cold and dark winter might have played a bigger role, but even now that the weather has improved, many people expect to see the effects for a while to come. In the same study, 67% of participants believed that COVID-19 would have a long-term impact on their mental health.

In the US, COVID-19 had a similar effect. The Standard, an insurance company based in Oregon, surveyed 1,400 employees in the country. It found that 55% of these individuals said that the pandemic had worsened a mental health issue, while 46% said they were struggling with some mental health problem, compared to 39% the previous year. 

 

New Mental Health Conditions vs. Existing Mental Illness: How COVID Impacted Both

 

COVID-19 had a significant impact on existing mental health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 13% of people in the US had either increased or began substance consumption to cope with the pandemic. In December 2020, the American Medical Association (AMA) found that 40 US states had reported a higher number of opioid-related deaths. 

These findings highlight the need for improved mental health support, and new mental health conditions resulting from COVID only make the situation worse. According to research cited on Healthline from The Lancet, 18% of people recovering from the virus experienced the onset of a mental health problem within three months. 

Further studies published in the same Healthline article revealed that many people who test positive for COVID-19 then experience post-traumatic stress disorder or another serious condition. 

These statistics show that recovering from the illness is only one part of the battle. Even if individuals don’t suffer severe symptoms, the ordeal of isolation and other related challenges still have a negative impact. 

 

The Effects of “Long COVID” on Mental Health

 

One of the most overlooked consequences of contracting the virus is what is known as “long COVID.” In simple terms, long COVID refers to suffering side effects after recovering from the original illness (e.g., fatigue, chest pain, brain fog, heart palpitations).

For most people, COVID-19 will only bring mild symptoms, which tend to go away within a few weeks. For those suffering from long COVID, however, the impact on their mental health is considerable. Depression is a common occurrence, and other long-term symptoms can lead to hopelessness, fear for the future, and even PTSD. 

 

Why Good Mental Health Is Important for Chronic Illness Sufferers

 

Managing a chronic illness physically is difficult enough without the added mental burden. Even if certain conditions aren’t curable, positive mental health can make day-to-day life a lot easier, as people often feel more capable of carrying out the necessities of life and making time for their hobbies. 

Poor mental health is known to make physical conditions worse. A person who is feeling depressed or anxious is likely to experience more intense pain and fatigue.

A lack of access to adequate support means that chronic illness sufferers experience anxiety on a number of levels:

These points have one thing in common: high-quality human interaction. Support through remote care is the key to helping chronic illness sufferers feel more empowered to battle their condition. 

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

ChronWell offers comprehensive telehealth solutions to practices, enabling doctors to be there for chronic illness sufferers when needed. Real-time patient monitoring allows for intervention when necessary, while patients can also schedule appointments at times that suit them. 

ChronWell’s solutions, especially chronic care management (CCM), have considered both mental and physical health, enabling practices to offer better support to patients and help their institution reach its objectives. 

To find out more about ChronWell’s digital health solutions, contact an expert today. 

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Chronic illness puts a strain on patients’ daily lives that impacts them in many significant ways—most particularly in their jobs. Discomfort, fatigue, medication schedules, and physical limitations are enough to deal with. Considering that many Americans work long hours and have to commute long distances, the impacts on physical and mental well-being, even without extra health complications, are substantial.

The good news is that more support is becoming available to help these individuals live with fewer disruptions. Healthcare is evolving, with technology assisting patients in juggling scheduled working hours and getting the necessary rest and medical attention. 

Keep reading to learn about how chronic illnesses impact physical and mental health, the ability to work full time, and some solutions to these issues. 

 

What is a Chronic Illness? 

 

According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC), “Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.” 

Conditions classed as chronic illnesses include cancer, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, and more. Sometimes external factors, like genetics, can influence the onset of chronic disease. In other cases, these conditions are related to or affected by unhealthy habits. Poor nutrition, tobacco and drug use, excessive alcohol use, and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute. 

 

Primary and Secondary Conditions 

 

A patient’s primary condition is the leading chronic illness itself. Sometimes, patients might not know that they have a condition, either because they don’t recognize symptoms or because they don’t get the necessary diagnosis. 

Secondary conditions are illnesses that can result from the primary condition. For example, heart disease or diabetes might follow from obesity

Often, primary and secondary conditions interplay with one another. According to the same CDC source linked above, four in 10 US adults simultaneously have two or more chronic diseases. 

Most chronic illnesses are incurable, and while prevention is the best action, this is not always possible. When it isn’t, managing chronic conditions as well as possible is essential; illnesses like this cost the US almost one-fifth of its GDP each year. 

 

How Chronic Illnesses Affect Individuals’ Well-being 

 

The importance of a healthy body is easy to forget as long as one has a healthy body. Unfortunately when illness strikes, it takes center stage. Appointments, follow-ups, treatment and medications, pain and discomfort, fatigue, and reduced mobility all become a regular part of life. 

Chronic illnesses also impact patients’ mental health in numerous ways. Worry and stress are compounded by feelings of hopelessness when daily activities become a challenge.

When suffering from such conditions, many patients, especially those living rurally, often need to travel long distances regularly to get treatment. Doing so adds stress and expense in addition to the burden they already bear. 

Patients with chronic illnesses sometimes do not get adequate support. They might feel like their social network cannot relate to them, or as if they must handle all the pressures on their own. 

Poor mental health caused by chronic illnesses can lead to a worsening of physical conditions. Too many responsibilities and too little time may lead to a lack of adherence to a treatment plan, which in turn causes more or worsening symptoms. 

 

How Chronic Illnesses Impact The Ability to Work Full-Time 

 

Chronic illnesses impact the ability of patients to work full-time in a variety of ways. Fatigue, discomfort, reduced mobility, medication schedules, and sometimes medical equipment are all impediments to attending a regular job, while the stress and distraction of a serious or long-term condition may affect job performance.

Below are some real-life quotes that highlight this in more depth. 

One digital modeler and designer with epilepsy told the Muse, “One day, I am fully capable of a task while the next day I struggle with generally simple things like brushing my teeth or getting dressed.”

Meanwhile, in an article published by Forbes, another individual said, “[My IV and pills] were not compatible with having to go in and out of meetings all day and keep up with the demands of a 9-to-5.” 

 

How Technology Helps Chronic Illness Sufferers Balance Work and Treatment 

 

Though chronic illness sufferers have historically been disadvantaged in having full-time jobs and impactful careers, technology is changing things. 

The rise in remote work is one example. Research from Upwork predicts that 22% of the US workforce will be remote by 2025, equating to 36.2 million people. The same report also found that 15.8% of teams were working entirely remotely in Q4 2020. 

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Remote work brings many benefits for chronic illness sufferers, including: 

 

Another way that technology is helping chronic illness sufferers balance work and their treatment is through telehealth. When using telehealth, there’s no need for patients to travel long distances to clinics

Telehealth also helps chronic illness sufferers because they don’t have to stay confined to clinic opening hours. Instead, they can meet virtually with practitioners at times that suit them best. 

Other benefits of remote healthcare for chronic illness sufferers include: 

 

How ChronWell Can Help 

 

ChronWell offers extensive remote healthcare solutions for practices. Clinics and patients can benefit from remote patient monitoring (RPM), as well as tailored chronic care programs. 

ChronWell’s telehealth solutions enable you to provide a better multi-channel healthcare experience and save costs and improve your bottom line. Their software solution is tried and tested by businesses throughout the US, with high levels of customer satisfaction. 

To find out how ChronWell can help improve your quality of healthcare, contact an expert today

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COVID-19 changed the healthcare sector forever. The sudden stress on the medical system exposed cracks and weaknesses in many countries and forced practices to re-strategize, fast. 

Despite the challenges, practices can also take away some positives. The pressure of doing more with less has helped expose and develop new efficiencies that will serve the industry—and its patients—in the years to come.

However, there is catching up to do. In the future, institutions will need to consider the most significant barriers to offering high-quality care.

Here’s a look at the biggest healthcare barriers in 2021, and some viable solutions. 

 

Critical Lessons in Healthcare and Health Trends in 2021

 

Although financial consulting firm Deloitte found that countries allocate 10.3% of their GDP on average towards healthcare, spending in actual numbers will differ significantly. The same research, for example, found that the US will spend $12,703 per person in 2024; Pakistan will only spend $37. 

While the US is a wealthy country, the disparities in healthcare access—despite how much hospitals are spending—suggests that a change in approach is necessary.

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Remote monitoring and care will also remain significant in 2021, even after the pandemic. Telehealth’s industry value is expected to drop by 3.06% to $80.53 billion this year because it was widely adopted during COVID-19. Until 2025, research suggests that the sector will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.34%. These figures indicate that more practices are willing to make changes to break down existing barriers to healthcare. 

 

How COVID-19 Has Affected Healthcare Provision

 

With the onset of the pandemic, hospitals and practices had to shuffle their resources overnight. As more hospital space was made for COVID-19 patients, chronic illness sufferers were no longer a top priority and had to wait for the attention they needed. 

The resulting uncertainty highlighted the importance of diversifying healthcare portfolios. Practitioners needed to consider how they could continue serving people unable to visit practices in person; whether that was because they were at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms and required to stay away from practices, or because they lived away from urban centers.

 

A Look at Existing Barriers

 

Post-COVID Worries

 

The pandemic may be winding down, but many are still uncomfortable with going back to receiving in-person care at this time. According to research by PwC in September 2020, 53% of patients said they were worried about returning to their practice because of the pandemic. 

 

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Since then, many countries have experienced second and third waves, which only amplified these concerns. Even with vaccines rolling out, some patients might want to stay away until they are confident the risk of infection is gone. 

 

Location 

 

Even once the pandemic is over, the US still needs to address disparities in healthcare access that are caused by geography. 

Various studies have shown that people living rurally have more difficulty getting the medical support they need. Most of the primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), for example, are rural. 

In cities, people living in disadvantaged or outlying neighborhoods might also struggle to get healthcare. Many urban areas don’t have convenient public transport, making commutes longer. 

 

Other Disparities

 

Despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), disparities still exist. For example, KFF research conducted between 2010 and 2019 found that people of color, in particular, still faced more difficulty getting adequate healthcare coverage. 

 

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A lot of the differences in healthcare availability are driven by external factors. Economic stability, environment, and safety all play a role in addition to the quality of healthcare in those areas. 

 

How Telehealth Is Helping Widen Access to Healthcare and Overcome These Challenges

 

Telehealth brings healthcare to the home for many individuals. Patients living outside major urban centers can schedule regular appointments without traveling long distances, while practitioners can monitor individuals outside of their consulting times. Telehealth can help bridge gaps for marginalized communities. Patients can request a doctor who speaks their language, and for those with lower levels of income, telehealth visits cost less than in-person ones. 

Telehealth also means that people who are hesitant about returning to practices can stay on top of their coverage. Practitioners can offer advice to help manage conditions, and knowing that they can still get the support they need will improve patients’ mental well-being. 

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

ChronWell offers a diverse suite of digital health and clinical solutions, including remote monitoring. Healthcare companies will also find a selection of programs designed specifically for certain chronic conditions, enabling you to tailor your plans better. 

Institutions will also find that ChronWell’s software is user-friendly and secure, allowing them to improve their revenue and customer satisfaction. 

To find out how ChronWell can help your business, contact one of our experts today. 

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Having readily accessible healthcare can help provide peace of mind and reduce inequality. A healthier population also allows more people to take up employment, which boosts the economy. 

In the US, marginalized people suffer from a range of daily difficulties. Limited healthcare access is one of the biggest challenges, leading to substantial negative implications for these communities. 

Telehealth serves as a potential bridge. Although there is still a long way to go before equal access to healthcare is achieved, the technology is enabling people with less time and money to receive treatment. Integrating telehealth also improves healthcare access for communities in hard-to-reach locations. 

Here’s how this technology improves healthcare access for marginalized communities. 

 

What is a Marginalized Community? 

 

A marginalized community is any group that is separated or stands apart from the rest of society, has limited access to services, and may be subject to discrimination. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says: 

“Marginalized communities are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, and/or cultural life… Marginalization occurs due to unequal power relationships between social groups.” 

Examples of marginalized communities in the US include: 

Marginalized communities are not just physical places; they are people of different races, ethnicities, and income levels. They are dispersed across different neighborhoods, towns, and cities within the country. 

 

Barriers to Healthcare for Marginalized Communities

 

Limited Financial Power

 

Income inequality in the US has been growing for more than three decades. As the OECD reveals, its Gini Coefficient, which ranks countries based on gaps between the rich and poor, is the fifth-highest among member countries. 

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As the graph below shows, health and social problems are strongly linked with unequal societies. 

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Individuals earning less money in the US do not have access to the high-quality healthcare that more privileged groups do. And in some cases, they may not be able to afford any coverage. As such, they’re at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms for illnesses that could have otherwise have been treated. 

 

Location

 

Marginalized communities’ healthcare access does not only come down to income. Geography is also a factor; getting adequate medical access is problematic for groups living outside major towns and cities. 

According to data from December 2019, rural areas accounted for nearly 63% of Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

People living rurally in the US may not have the needed practices and clinics within a reasonable travel distance. In some cases, they might not have a car or reliable public transport to count on. 

Such isolation can lead to people ignoring symptoms because of the inconvenience, resulting in poor health incomes and lower life expectancy. 

 

A Lack of Time 

 

Marginalized communities may also find that they do not have the time to schedule appointments. This could be for numerous reasons, including: 

Limited opening hours for practices amplify this issue, as other responsibilities often cannot be adjusted to accommodate the inconvenience. 

 

How Telehealth Helps Marginalized Communities 

 

Bringing Healthcare to the Home 

 

One significant benefit of telehealth is that it brings care to the individual. Patients have more flexibility to book appointments at a time that suits them, while remote patient monitoring allows practitioners to track their progress round the clock. 

Remote care also allows patients to access healthcare no matter where they are, so more people feel like they can get help if they think something is wrong. 

 

Cost-Effectiveness

 

Telehealth helps patients receive the help they need at a fraction of the cost of visiting a practitioner in person. 2017 research by Health Affairs found that the average telehealth visit costs each patient $79. In comparison, in-person visits cost $146.

For in-person visits, there are also fuel or public transport costs, as well as possibly needing overnight accommodation, and meals while away from home. Telehealth helps patients save money in many ways.

 

A Tailored Plan

 

Members of marginalized communities may feel ignored and misunderstood—and in some cases, language barriers exacerbate the problem. In these cases, access to a doctor who can relate to their experiences results in better healthcare. 

With digital healthcare, patients have more options when it comes to choosing their doctor. They can, for example, choose someone who speaks their language or shares their religion. Patients can also select doctors with similar life experiences to them, helping to create a more mutual understanding.

How ChronWell Can Help 

 

ChronWell offers extensive telehealth services to help practices meet the needs of patients with both short-term and chronic conditions. Our technology was developed by the most reputable software companies within the healthcare sector and tested and loved by institutions throughout the US.

Patients can access ChronWell’s healthcare solutions from multiple income entry points and can schedule appointments at times that are convenient for them. 

To find out more about how ChronWell helps practices improve their healthcare services and patient satisfaction, contact one of our experts today

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Chronic illness is a huge problem in the US. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC), six in 10 American adults have at least one chronic condition. 

For healthcare practices, chronic care management (CCM) is an effective way to treat these patients. However, there are aspects of patient health that these tools do not address, so implementing other technology can help to fill gaps in the service. 

In this article, we’ll discuss four types of software that healthcare providers can use to support their CCM. 

 

Why CCM is important for the long run and not just the short term 

 

The role of CCM is not to provide a quick fix, and strategies will be different than those used for treating short-term conditions. Chronic illnesses typically affect patients for the rest of their lives, so CCM focuses on maintaining their quality of life as well as treating their symptoms. There are tools that educate and help patients make choices that support their health and care programs.

 

Why you must use other apps in conjunction with CCM 

 

CCM is excellent for managing medical care, and providing patients the knowledge they need to manage their illness away from medical supervision. What CCM can’t do, however, is put wisdom into action. 

For example, you can offer patients advice on how a more nutritious diet could help to control their condition. However, in day-to-day life, there can be gaps between intention and practice, and misunderstandings or lack of nutrition knowledge can sabotage efforts. Software can help keep patients on track. 

 

Apps that support CCM 

 

Exercise Apps

 

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage chronic condition symptoms. Working out can help lower blood sugar levels, improve heart health, improve back strength, and more. Exercise apps can help patients to ease themselves into a routine, track their progress, and stay motivated. 

Every patient is different; what they can and can’t do—and will and won’t do—will vary. So, when choosing exercise software to accompany your CCM, it’s vital to choose one with numerous customization options. 

 

Meditation Software

 

In today’s hyper-connected world, meditation offers a moment of solitude for many people; and its benefits go far beyond getting a moment of peace. 

JAMA Network Open carried out research on over 6,400 individuals in 2020, featuring over 60 randomized clinical trials. Their findings revealed that meditation can help to reduce chronic pain. Correlations between meditation and lowering acute and post-surgical pain were also positive. 

However, meditation can be challenging for beginners. Many meditation apps offer guidance and motivational messages that can help patients stick to a schedule. They can also learn about different techniques and listen to soothing music, helping them improve their mental and physical well-being. 

 

Sleep Apps

 

According to 2021 research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), participants who got less than seven hours of sleep per night were 30% more likely to develop dementia. 

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Studies elsewhere have shown correlations between poor sleep quality and depression as well as other conditions. 

Not getting enough sleep also makes everyday activities more difficult and patients with chronic illnesses may find that their symptoms worsen. Alternatively, they may not have the energy to focus on managing their condition. 

Sleep apps can help patients suffering from chronic conditions to identify existing sleeping patterns so they can make the necessary tweaks. These apps can also remind them when it’s time to go to bed and it allows them to set goals, helping them stay on track. 

 

Nutrient Trackers 

 

Of course, you can—and should—offer advice to help patients improve their diets. Once you’ve provided this information, they still need a way to keep track of what they’re eating. 

While you can encourage patients to write everything down, this is time-consuming and inefficient. Nutrient-tracking apps offer a possible solution. With these apps, patients record everything they eat and access massive nutritional information databases—often by simply scanning a barcode on a package or entering a keyword. Patients will see how many calories they’re consuming and can monitor their salt and sugar intake and macronutrient ratios. This helps them improve their diets and learn more about the food they consume, supporting conscious choices. 

 

How ChronWell Can Help

 

ChronWell offers CCM solutions that enable medical practices to manage patient care remotely. In addition to treatment, our digital health services can provide the education needed to improve patients’ lives. 

The remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology that forms part of our CCM offering was created by some of the industry’s best developers. You can also use our CCM alongside telemedicine and more, providing a well-rounded experience. 

To find out more about how we can help and for a demonstration of our services, contact our team today. 

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