by Collette Manning, Anthem
July 7, 2017
Chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, are among the most common and costly health problems. And yet, they’re also the most preventable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of all adults have one or more chronic health conditions — driving 86 percent of all health care spending. Look at the toll diabetes alone takes: More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, while 86 million have prediabetes. The disease was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2013 (and it may be underreported). And according to the CDC, more than 20 percent of health care spending is for people with diagnosed diabetes.
I know from firsthand experience as a registered nurse that the human body is a maze of interacting, integrated systems. Not one can exist independently of the others, and together, they sustain life. While diabetes results from an imbalance of critical hormones in the endocrine system, its effects are felt throughout the body, wreaking havoc on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as on vision and dental health.
If disease impacts us holistically, shouldn’t health care treat patients holistically?
So what’s the solution?
A growing trend in population health management aims to treat a patient’s whole body, not individual parts. The approach — integrated population health management (IPHM) — connects dental, vision and disability data through a patient’s benefits carriers. That connected data promotes opportunities, including early detection and improved management of chronic conditions.
Integrated health care programs more effectively coordinate medical and specialty care, making every patient-provider interaction more meaningful with richer information. These programs not only help improve patient outcomes, but can also lower medical costs over time.
For example, let’s take a look at how IPHM can help improve outcomes in people with diabetes:
The prevention, early detection and management of chronic diseases are essential to ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients, while also mitigating the cost burden. Integrated health care programs can achieve it all.
I’ll leave you with this: Every five minutes, two people die of diabetes-related causes, and 14 adults are newly diagnosed. In the time it took to read this post, the lives of at least 16 people and their families changed forever.2
Learn more in the Integrated Health Care Report.
Collette Manning is Specialty Clinical Strategy Director at Anthem, Inc.