Reforming Self-Management: Discussing Chronic Care Management

It’s impossible to be completely immune from illnesses, but it’s possible to be able to manage them to prevent illness from becoming a hindrance in a person’s life. People diagnosed with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and epilepsy, spend enormous amounts of time and health costs in order to be alleviated from the effects their conditions have on their bodies and lives.

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Reforming Self-Management

Chronic disease management (CDM) supports patients with medical care, knowledge, skills, and resources needed to better manage their illness on a daily basis. An effective CDM focuses on providing patients a normal life expectancy with remote patient monitoring and appropriate intervention. Patients can better manage their chronic illnesses when given an every-day and long-term picture of their health. CDM providers must design a patient experience that makes patients feel they can lead normal lives despite their chronic illnesses to ensure patient motivation and stickiness.

Driving Forces

Improving Health For All

The digital health coaching platform Pack Health has begun to reform CDM by addressing over 25 chronic conditions with evidence-based content, metrics, and devices. Pack Health also offers Health Advisors that provide social support, accountability and education for their users dealing with chronic conditions. By partnering with Pack Health, patients feel they are making the correct choices to stimulate behavioral changes that support their sense of a high quality of life while living with chronic illness.

“On a personal level, we’re improving access, reducing barriers, and helping members achieve clinically significant results. On an ecosystem level, we’re garnering insight on what individuals need across experiences to improve health outcomes.” ~ Mazi Rasulnia, Pack Health CEO and Founder

Zero Touch, All Connected

Medisante reforms CDM by providing a zero-touch direct-to-cloud medical IoT infrastructure to leverage the IoT for care teams. Physicians and providers have access to a single interface to their IT system, which enables them to have an easy navigation and intervention of their patients’ chronic illnesses. Medisante encourages a simple and pain-free management for chronic illness patients with their remote “zero-touch” configuration that doesn’t need to be downloaded or paired to another app. With a focus on simplicity and a unified product design approach, Medisante provides a reformed CDM that allows patients to easily manage their illnesses.

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Constructive Banking

Eno by Capital One is a virtual 24/7 assistant that aids customers to self-manage their bank accounts better by providing insights and alerts about customers’ accounts, educating their customers on their finances, and answering questions instantly. Much like a chronic illness, people need to manage their finances accordingly all their life, where good management will lead to better outcomes. Supporting its customers with Eno allows customers to feel they are managing their finances better with the support they need, and therefore become more likely to stick with Capital One. Similarly, patients that believe they are successfully managing their chronic illnesses will continue with that CDM solution.

Learning While Vacationing

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Four Seasons Hotel in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medical International offered a platform that educates and implements proper preventative measures to its guests and employees. COVID-19 is an illness all people are trying to manage in their lives by following a strict protocol. Four Seasons, therefore, makes people feel confident in making lifestyle choices, such as travel, safely so they can enjoy their experience. The end goal is the same for patients with chronic illnesses — by managing their chronic conditions through well designed platforms patients can enjoy and live their life as normal as possible.

Applying Design

Near-Term (12 Months)

Opportunities

  • Enable Self-Managed Care Empowering Resources: A well-designed platform that offers a balance of tools, resources, activities, and education that enables patients to improve their self-management skills. Designers will be integral to creating an engaging platform.
  • Clear Picture: Patients have a clear and ongoing picture of their health which allows self-alertness and thereby a faster response from clinicians. Designers will be instrumental in ensuring the communication is understood effectively by the patients and goals for outcomes are met.
  • Choice rather than a task: Integrate an effective design-led approach to ensure greater adherence to self-management techniques in a way that chronic care is not a chore for the patient. Design-techniques can be used to motivate patients.

Dangers

  • Unresolved problems: Poorly designed CDM could in turn discourage patients to engage with the educational tools and physicians’ recommendations
  • Lack of accessibility: CDM is not reformed fully where all possible demographics, including low income families and rural areas, are not addressed and incapable of accessing the proper digital tools
  • Mental health stigma: Different layers of engagement for certain medical streams, such as the often overlooked mental health, are not designed properly to encourage discussion between patients, physicians, hospital administrators, and caregivers

Long-Term (3+ Years)

Opportunities

  • Immense Involvement: Patients become more aware of their health and are able to flag their symptoms earlier to nurses, doctors, and other medical personnel, which then creates a better collaborative relationship. Designers are integral for creating new platforms that facilitate such partnerships.
  • Reciprocating with engagement: Building off the point above, when the platform has been designed with the right balance of medical support and patient engagement — the result will be patients who are more active in their treatments and overall medical journey
  • Moving towards self-management: Patients need to believe that they have the resources to self-managing appropriately and in an informed manner. Designers will play a key role in the ongoing iteration of such platforms as the paradigm shifts.

Dangers

  • Uneducated and unreformed: The problem that haunts current CDM models has not been solved, where patients are not educated enough to detect their symptoms early and coordinate with their doctors
  • No communication: Lack of communication from the physicians’ side can negatively affect patients’ self-care of their chronic conditions
  • Overwhelming data: Without proper design, there is a risk of ineffective communication between clinical teams and disorganization of data information