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Disease Management Works to Keep People Healthy

We get a regular email letter from our friend and professional speaking colleague, Joyce Gioia, called the Herman Trend Alert.  It was started by our dear friend and Joyce’s late husband, Roger Herman.
Joyce is a strategic business futurist, certified management consultant, and author.  Her latest e-letter caught our eye because it pertains directly to what we do in home health care.
Disease Management Works to Keep People Healthier – December 12, 2012

Disease Management is a process by which government agencies, health care providers, and insurance companies with a vested interest support people who have chronic diseases in
making good lifestyle and nutritional choices. Published in the peer-reviewed journal, “Population Health Management”, this international study shows the very positive effect that disease management has on hospital admissions and Adjusted Length of Stay (ALOS).

Three years ago Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, the Hospitals Contributions Fund (HCF) launched a chronic disease management program, the My Health Guardian program, to help people with heart disease and diabetes to self-manage their conditions.

For participants with heart disease, the difference in percentage change in hospital admission rates compared to non-participants were reductions of 7.2 percent and 12.0 percent after 12 months and 18 months, respectively. This group also recorded statistically significant improvement in readmission rate after 12
and 18 months and ALOS after 18 months. For diabetes sufferers, the difference in percentage change in hospital admission rates was decreased by 7.8 percent after 12 months and 13.4 percent after 18 months for program participants compared to non-participants.

Last December, a strategy report issued by the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services detailed that more than 25 percent of Americans have two or more chronic conditions. They defined chronic conditions as those requiring continuing medical care, that often limit people’s ability to perform activities of daily living, including heart disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, H.I.V., mental illness, and dementia, among others.

Not surprisingly, the problems get worse, as people age. Two-thirds of Americans over 65 and three-fourths of those over 80 have multiple chronic diseases.  Moreover, 69 percent of Medicare dollars are spent on people with five or more chronic diseases. Numerous studies worldwide point to a reduction of costs, when
disease management is applied. One study was mentioned in our Herman Trend Alert

This latest study from Australia is just another example highlighting the importance of disease management. As health care providers and insurance companies look for ways to reduce costs, disease management will be at the top of their lists.

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Special thanks to Ernie Clevenger, author of the MyHealthGuide Newsletter for the Self-Funded Community for covering the Australian study in his recent newsletter.

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