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5 Ways on how doctors can smartly manage chronic diseases

  • Highlights

  • Connect to patients remotely with tele-medicine

  • Personalise healthcare through mHealth

  • Educational info aids patient engagement

  • Increase responsiveness with a helpline

According to a recent national report in New Delhi, over 20% of the country’s population suffers from Non- Communicable Diseases (NCD) or chronic conditions, estimated to cost India $6.2 trillion in the period 2012-2030. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), diseases such as heart ailments, cancers, respiratory ailments, and diabetes kill 38 million people globally every year.

The most common chronic diseases in India are:
* Breast cancer
* Prostate cancer
* Diabetes
* Cholesterol
* Heart Diseases
* PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease)
* Asthma

Why chronic diseases need special attention?

Persistent or long-term sickness leads to a stressful life as many changes come into existence in a person’s day-to-day activities. The patient has to deal with his physical, nutritional, and psychological changes. It also means having to cope up with the demands of the illness and treatment used. Chronic illnesses are characterized by:
* Prolonged illness
* Long latency period

* Complex causes
* Associated risk factors
* Temporary or permanent disability

Why do you need smart ways to manage chronic diseases?

1. Huge patient base

The magnitude of chronic diseases is enormous, and it is estimated to claim around 35 million lives in a year globally. Furthermore, 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. A survey says that every fifth person in India suffers from some chronic illness and out of 10 people, 6 die of Non-communicable diseases (NCD). The cancer cases are likely to increase by 25% by the year 2020, leading to an increase in the number of patients and the need for more physicians and better illness management strategies.

2. Long-term management

Chronic illnesses cannot be fully cured. However, providing consultancy to your patients to have a healthy and an uncomplicated life can help in managing the condition in an appropriate way.

3. Educate & Empower Patients

Educating patients and empowering them to set achievable goals can help them cope up with the chronic disease. Providing them with informative reads, guides, infographics, etc. via telemedicine can help patients deal with problems such as lack of confidence, fatigue, pain, isolation and improve their overall emotional well-being.

4. Avoidable complications

Most of the chronic conditions are not fatal and can be managed effectively. While all the chronic conditions require a good disease management plan, most of them have common disease-causing factors that may lead to a particular condition, therefore making the disease preventable. As doctors, it is important to engage with your patients often, communicating and following-up with time-to-time.

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Novel Ways To Manage Chronic Conditions

1. Telemedicine
Telemedicine tools enable patients to have live video chats with a physician, securely share the diagnostic reports, get a telephonic prescription for a wide variety of health conditions. While the burden on the health care centers is high due to the increasing demand for physicians and specialists, telemedicine offers an innovative way of patient engagement and disease management

Video Consultation

The use of technology in the form of video consultation for managing various kinds of ailments and disorders is a widely popular telemedicine practice. It can save the patient and the provider a lot of time, and thereby increasing the productivity of the provider and at the same time, saving travel cost for the patient.

Cost Involved: Setting up a telemedicine facility would cost around 25-30 lakh rupees. The key elements involved are medical devices for specialties, communication platform, internet connections and required bandwidth, training staff, and IT staff support. A web-based video conferencing portal can be either hardware or software-oriented. A software route can cost around Rs.90,000, whereas, a hardware-based video conferencing solution can cost around Rs.6,50,000.
Setting up such a facility requires notable investment and it might not be feasible for practices to set up such a unit with their current cash. To solve this, now-a-days, some lenders offer an array of customized loans with flexible repayment options and easy processing, that allow medical practitioners a hassle-free way of obtaining funds. Business Loans for Doctors are a great source of finance as they suit the unique needs of doctors and help them grow their practice.

2. Mobile health/Digital Wellness

Health management can be simplified and personalized by going the digital way. Software applications or apps can be developed which would contain the latest and relevant information with frequently asked questions, encouraging patients to turn to their mobiles for immediate help.

3. Self-Management Literature

By knowing fundamental information on patients’ health conditions, medical practitioners can reduce the patient crowd at clinics. Such information helps doctors resolve patient problems without them rushing to the clinic every time and thus, better manage patients. On the other hand, patients can overcome their sickness through the suggested exercises, intake the prescribed medication, effectively communicate with their physician thereby feeling more engaged and empowered.

Cost Involved: You may consider investing on printing educational material like brochures, handouts, booklets, etc. for different chronic conditions worth Rs.30,000-50,000, depending on the size of your practice


Chronic conditions are physically, emotionally and financially challenging. Health care organizations and providers can initiate novel ways for chronic disease management, especially for patients with multiple conditions. The use of above mentioned ways such as telemedicine, self-management programs, providing literature to the patients, providing support, access to medical help in the form of help-lines and care-guides will go a long way in better patient management and help to reduce the financial burden as well.

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