Chronic diseases are defined as conditions lasting one year or longer, require ongoing medical attention, and/or limit daily activities. Today, chronic diseases affect millions of Americans and drive over $1 trillion dollars of annual healthcare costs. Beyond direct healthcare expenditures, research indicates the indirect costs of the chronic disease burden from lost economic productivity exceed $3.7 trillion – almost 20% of the US GDP.
While historically challenging, chronic disease management has become even more difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic. Patients are limiting their interactions with the healthcare system and care has shifted to virtual platforms. Providers must implement strategies to proactively engage patients with chronic diseases to manage ongoing care and prevent exacerbation and avoidable cost in the future.
The lasting pandemic creates an opportunity for the development of new care models and innovative solutions that address longstanding challenges that are particularly acute among chronic disease patients, such as medication adherence, care coordination, and inequitable access. Such strategies will set the foundation for long-term transformation that will ultimately drive improved patient outcomes and population health.