The mismanagement of many diseases and medical conditions drastically impacts the quality of life enjoyed by patients. Diabetes is a perfect example. It is not uncommon for an individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as an adult to fall into bad habits.
Cheating a little here and there, not paying close enough attention to your A1C results – these can seem miniscule until they catch up with you all at once and you end up in the emergency room.
Some people mismanage their conditions because they don't have enough money to fill prescriptions or buy healthier food. Others simply lack the discipline or don't fully grasp the gravity of their situations. But, when diseases are properly managed, patients are far more likely to lead healthier, more active and enjoyable lives.
A recent study published on the Journal of American Medical Information Association's website provides an example of how medical IT systems can help improve patient management of diseases.
As part of the research, an online care management program was built into an existing electronic medical records (EMR) system for patients with Type 2 diabetes. The program included online messaging between patients and health teams, advice from nurses and dieticians and personalized text messages and video clips sent to participants. Each patient was also able to wirelessly upload their glucometer readings to the system.
Over a six-month period, the study showed that the AC1 levels of those patients using the online care management program were significantly lower than the same number of individuals not using the program.
What this shows us is that the potential exists for innovative IT solutions to directly impact the quality of patients' lives and management of their medical conditions. With the right healthcare IT support, practices of all sizes can work with their EMR consultants to create invaluable technology assets.