Technology plays a vital role in providing care for chronically ill patients. From video visits to temperature sensors and wearables, digital healthcare is bringing professional healthcare into patients’ homes around the world.
To what extent, however, is technology improving healthcare for people with chronic illnesses? Let’s get more in-depth.
What Defines Chronic Illness?
Chronic illnesses are, generally, conditions that last for a year or longer. They demand regular monitoring and medical awareness. Chronic illnesses also hinder the sufferer’s ability to carry out certain life activities.
Examples of chronic illnesses include:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Heart disease
Chronic illness is a huge problem for the US economy. According to 2019 research from Fitch Solutions, conditions of this kind cost $3.8 trillion both directly and indirectly. For context, that’s almost 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Unique Struggles of Chronic Illness Sufferers
The physical and mental toll of living with chronic illness
Suffering from a chronic illness can be physically exhausting. Maintaining one’s health and comfort while living with these conditions takes a lot of energy, often leading to fatigue. Chronic illness makes doing everyday tasks difficult, and some forms of exercise may be out of the question.
The incessant demands of chronic illness and the pain and limitations it causes are taxing on mental health as well. Patients often feel worried and isolated. For chronic illness sufferers living in rural areas, the mental impact is even more significant, with long-distance traveling taking a toll on the individual.
Difficulties in diagnosis and management
Many patients are unaware they have a chronic illness. Symptoms are often subtle, making them difficult to detect until the underlying issue has already started causing significant damage to the body.
Once a chronic illness is diagnosed, a patient’s condition can change rapidly. Regular monitoring is essential—and may require out-of-clinic help.
A further complication is that in many cases, chronic illnesses are not singular. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC), many US adults have two or more conditions.
This comorbidity of conditions means more monitoring and assessment, which can result in considerable physical, mental, and financial implications.
Chronic illness sufferers could struggle to access healthcare services
For chronic illness sufferers, getting the proper medical attention is vital. However, this level of assistance is not available everywhere. As a result, those living far away from these services might remain untreated, struggle accessing the necessary medical care, or even need to relocate to get the required care.
Finances also come into play. Healthcare in the US is expensive, and when patients need to receive medical attention often, those costs escalate.
How Digital Healthcare Can Benefit Chronic Illness Patients
The benefits of telehealth are varied for chronic illness patients. With remote patient monitoring (RPM), doctors can assess their conditions more closely and make the necessary adaptations faster.
Another benefit of digital healthcare is how much time it saves. With telemedicine, healthcare institutions can diagnose patients without them needing to travel to a clinic.
Digital healthcare helps practitioners offer better and more frequent support. Doctors can share tips for improving lifestyle habits and be a source of motivation. They are also more accessible than would be the case if patients could only visit them in person.
Easing these burdens results in improved mental well-being, fewer feelings of hopelessness, relieving some financial strain, and less physical fatigue.
How ChronWell Can Help
ChronWell offers comprehensive chronic care management solutions that improve the coordination between doctors and patients. Our software also enables the creation of tailored programs, in addition to medication management.
With ChronWell’s technology, patients get round-the-clock medical attention, more than one condition can be monitored, and monthly progress reports are available.
If you’re interested in how ChronWell can help your institution better manage chronic illnesses, get in touch with one of our experts today.
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