One word: Huge. And it’s growing.
As of 2012, 117 million people in the US, or about half of all adults, have a chronic health condition. Worse still: 25 percent of the population have two or more.
So, this is why chronic care is such a big deal; not only is it prevalent, but diseases generally cannot be prevented or cured – only managed.
Because of this, chronic conditions are a major reason for rising healthcare costs. In 2010, 86 percent of all healthcare spending was for people suffering from chronic disease, like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Many, 52.3 million to be exact, are beneficiaries of Medicare.
If that seems dismal – look at where experts expect chronic conditions to be in the future. By 2020, 57 percent of the U.S. population – or roughly 190 million people – will suffer from one or more chronic diseases.
Unless something changes, these diseases will become more and more of a burden on the healthcare system. According to the CDC, “fewer than 7% of people diagnosed with diabetes in 2011 and 2012 were given adequate self-management training,” despite the fact that self-management is key to a successful outcome.
Hoping to reverse this trend and arrest the rising costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services created a reimbursement last year for physicians, hospitals and clinics to help patients manage chronic conditions, without face-to-face interaction. (Read more about that here.)
The goal is to more closely monitor these conditions before incidents flare up and costs of treatment skyrocket. Basically, it’s cheaper to monitor diabetes than to treat the side effects that come with poor management.
At 4D, we believe the best way forward is by empowering patients to better manage their health – providing them with smart technology solutions that capitalize on the world of wearables to deliver actionable insights and opportunities for early intervention.