Topics & Solutions
Managing degenerative diseases is the most expensive and frequently least focused activity of healthcare providers because so much of the effort is expended upon reacting to complications and crises rather than preventing them. Payers, patients, insurers in the developed world increasingly recognize that focused longitudinal care of patient groups having particular diseases offers opportunities for all parties. This arises partly in reaction to the success of mass prevention programs in heart disease, anti smoking campaigns and other population driven assessments, prevention and care programs in recent decades along with the wishes of more affluent consumers to obtain better healthcare information, the benefits of healthcare information technology and more sophisticated care and the capacity to obtain care at times when it can benefit them most, i.e. before rather than after complications and crises occur. From the standpoint of patients, governmental payers, insurers and integrated healthcare providers it is obvious that a long term smooth curve of cost per unit of time in caring for diseases such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s is highly preferable to paying for a series of unpredicted spikes of expense, which attempt with limited success to correct medical crises in patients lives. Patients are also enthusiastic regarding the opportunities of a better quality of care and life offered by disease management methodology and frequently will accept incentives for their participation and performance in disease management programs. The inevitable expansion of diseases of lifestyle to developing nations in future decades makes it incumbent to plan for controlling healthcare costs and improving health and quality of life. Genetic tests or genome scans are increasingly being purchased by consumers and will soon become a billion-dollar test market. By identifying patients at risk for particular diseases and complicating events, promoting self-management and integrating the care provided by multidisciplinary healthcare professionals the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare can be enhanced. Treating cause of degenerative diseases with effective drugs will be a major component in overcoming the epidemics they pose and in controlling the uncontrolled growth of healthcare costs, which rise faster than GDP globally.