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Chronic Disease Battle Requires Better Tools

Posted by | 10:25am on Friday, September 5, 2008
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Most people have some gaps in their knowledge and lack confidence in the managing aspect of their own care. Tools to help patients are scattered, incomplete and often lack relevant details. 

Benjamin Brewer, M.D. had some interesting observations this morning in the WSJ forum The Doctor’s Office.

  • Managing chronic diseases between visits is uncompensated work for doctors, yet the need for such care is huge.

  • The current financial disincentives to providing proper care for chronic disease are daunting, and the waste created by ignoring the problem is growing as the population ages.

  • Most people have some gaps in their knowledge and lack confidence in the managing aspect of their own care. Tools to help patients are scattered, incomplete and often lack relevant details.

  • Online sites, like WebMD and others, help with general information. But they only go so far. I’ve found patients need specific information tailored to their condition. How much weight should I lose to make a difference in my blood pressure? What exercise makes sense for me? What should my heart rate be? What foods should I buy at the store? How do I prepare those foods in a hurry?

  • We need some new approaches to wellness and ways to align the incentives for patients and doctors to work together toward health.

This seems to me to be an opportunity for pharma to step up when they have a therapy that treats a chronic disease. After all, everyone is better off when patients with a chronic disease live longer, healthier lives. A good example of a pharma company providing information leadership in a chronic disease community is Baxter’s www.immunedisease.com.

Also, we all know that patients like to talk with other patients — people who have been through the same type of experience before. They are already out there creating online chronic disease communities but they don’t always have the best advice or information.

Because of all of these changes patients are now largely responsible for there own health. Are there other ways we can use technology to help patients take care of themselves? How responsible should doctors be to monitor patients behavioral habits?

(Image courtesy of veganstraightedge via Flickr)

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

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