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Need for disease management services in India

Anil Nayak
Thursday, August 1, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Our healthcare system is wholly dependent on expensive drugs and invasive surgeries, opposed to preventive measures and simpler, less expensive treatment alternatives. In short the healthcare system has become too expensive these days and people are left helpless to gain the facilities that are required to maintain or regain their health.

 The majority of the disease are caused due to changing lifestyle and unhealthy diet that is been carried by most of the people. Cost of drugs and surgeries have taken people lives but still there is no guarantee that is been given to such big surgeries whether the disease will get eradicated or no. In such cases the need of a disease management service plays a pivotal role by. There is a need of awareness to be created for disease management. People have to adopt as a secondary option after the doctor’s prescription.

 Taking a managed approach towards ones chronic disease will allow a person to adopt alternative options by erasing the need of big surgeries and expensive treatments. There has to be a great need in giving emphasis on prevention and this will only happen once a patient enrolls himself / herself into a diseased management hub. This will make him shed less money along with efficiency and better development in his / her health. One should take the responsibility of their own health that will improve the patients well being.

The health care system of India is still not stable. There are millions of people who die due to sudden occurrence of cancer , hypertension , HIV as a infection and many such chronic illnesses which are said to be with the life till a person dies. These diseases are something which will have to be managed. If not there are chances a person would end up with end number of health problems, but if managed thoroughly it can help in improving the lifestyle of the patient and thus would let leave a person in a healthier way.

 Health care costs have been rising for years and as per the expert predictions, the trend will continue.In order to control chronic diseases, concept of remote controlled disease management/ patient management is certainly picking up in India It is the process of reducing health care costs and improving quality of life. The individuals benefit from it as it prevents or minimizes the effects of a disease, usually a chronic condition, through integrative care.

Patients with chronic conditions make day-to-day decisions about—self-manage—their illnesses. This reality introduces a new chronic disease paradigm: the patient-professional partnership, involving collaborative care and self-management education. Disease management takes cares of self-management education which complements traditional patient education in supporting patients to live the best possible quality of life with their chronic condition.

Whereas traditional patient education offers information and technical skills, self-management education teaches problem-solving skills.

In some circumstances, self-management education improves outcomes and can reduce costs for arthritis and probably for adult asthma patients; and  in initial studies, a self-management education programme brings together patients with a variety of chronic conditions may improve outcomes and reduce costs.  Self-management education for chronic illness may soon become an integral part of high-quality primary care.

While healthy lifestyles are a good start in preventing disease, everyone has to deal with illness at some point in their lives. When disease strikes, it’s important that all the health care providers who work with the patient coordinate their advice. It’s equally important that the patient follow this advice on recommended treatment and take an active role in his or her own care. Coordinated Care is a must as people with chronic diseases often have complex needs that require services from many different health care providers.

When health care professionals do not coordinate their advice, it can have a poor effect on a person’s health. Uncoordinated care can lead to harmful drug interactions, conflicting recommendations on treatments, and unnecessary hospital stays. Disease management or coordination of care, aims to improve people’s health by identifying their needs and integrating services to meet those needs. It can reduce costs, help improve care, and enhance care for all patients who have a particular disorder. These programmes vary widely, but most involve the following steps:

  • identifying people who are at high risk for the disease;
  • giving patients and their families the information they need to take charge of their own care;
  • promoting best practices among providers based on the best evidence from research, and
  • using follow-up procedures to prevent unnecessary health complications.
Disease management also gives people living with chronic illnesses, such as asthma or diabetes, the tools and information necessary to make lifestyle changes in order to stay healthy and not have their conditions worsen. For patients, these tools can include access via telephone to a trained care manager or a nurse for answers to questions and for educational materials that help them become active participants in their own health care. For doctors, it can provide ongoing information on a patient’s progress and help reinforcement the plan of care with the patient.

Disease management also plays an important role in improving health of a patient. Disease management is still not common today in India, and is usually part of private insurance or government health care plans. Employers are yet to take this initiatives to improve the health of their workforce. It is an effective way of supporting patients in all the possible ways. Effective disease management also increases the chances that a person will follow through with the recommended treatment. That may include keeping doctors appointments, following a particular diet, taking medications, using medical devices, or making lifestyle changes. Following the prescribed therapy is as important as identifying the medical problem in the first place. Effective disease management also addresses barriers that may prevent a patient from taking his or her medicine. These might include confusion about how and when to take prescribed medicine or concerns about the chance of side effects.

Disease management gives patients the tools they need to finish the treatment. It is proven that when patient is involved in the management of their disease, they have better health outcomes. For a patient to manage their own care, they must be informed partners and doctors must listen to them and counsel them in how to manage their illness.

The author is co founder of Kartavya Healtheon Pvt Ltd


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