How consistent patient engagement saves costs for individuals and providers alike

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reinforced just how expensive it often is living with chronic illnesses. The research found those living with chronic conditions incur more medical debt and non-medical costs than those without chronic diseases. The data collected at the University of Michigan discovered that major economic impacts, such as total debt, low credit score, and recent bankruptcy increased with the number of chronic disease diagnoses a patient had.

The price of chronic illness
Medical debt is an increasingly glaring issue in American households. Earlier this year, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that nearly half of adults owe $2,500 in medical debt, with 24 percent of respondents to the KFF study admitting they have overdue medical bills or bills they cannot pay.

It's particularly challenging for chronically ill patients to overcome medical debt. One statistic highlighted in the study in JAMA uncovered the adjusted amount of medical debt in collections increased 60 percent from $784 for patients with no chronic disease to $1,252 for patients with multiple chronic conditions. Meanwhile, the adjusted amount of non-medical debt also increased by 18 percent.

A flawed model of care
Changing this harsh reality for patients requires fundamentally rethinking chronic care delivery. Engaging patients between doctor visits is vital for achieving better health outcomes, especially for chronically ill patients and those in underserved communities. Unfortunately, most providers don't have the adequate resources or infrastructure to monitor their patient's life and health beyond intermittent clinical interactions.

As a result, many patients don't obtain the consistent care they need, leading to more emergency department visits and placing an additional financial burden on them and the system. With the number of chronically ill Medicare patients growing by 1.5 million annually, this problem will only get more challenging to solve.

At the root of this flawed system are non-clinical factors, such as diet, housing, and education, that dramatically shape health equity and overall patient health. Under the current model, physicians simply cannot provide personalized and consistent care once a patient steps out of the clinic. Without greater visibility and communication, neither patients nor providers can accurately understand how lifestyle influences health outcomes.

Sustainable chronic disease management
Several things can be done to help doctors more effectively and sustainably treat patients with chronic diseases. First, providers need the resources to better engage patients between office visits. Next, physicians who can educate patients about their conditions and help them manage them from home will go a long way toward closing common care gaps.

The level of engagement and staff required to engage, educate and gain patient insight might seem unfeasible. This is where Engooden can help. Our technology-driven, personalized engagement provided by skilled and empathetic care navigators enables a more complete picture of patient health, identifying rising-risk patients and uncovering more barriers to care.

At Engooden, we understand the critical factors that ultimately influence whether patients can and will adhere to care plans. To be effective, chronic disease management requires targeted outreach and interventions at precisely the right time to maintain care plan compliance and improve patient outcomes. Engooden's technology raises actionable insights to care navigators who reach out to patients directly and provide personalized care support on a monthly basis.

Our unique approach to chronic disease management reduces patients' overall cost of care because we can empower them to take a more active role in their health. Providers also benefit financially because Engooden removes the need to invest in full-time clinical staff to manage chronic care cases.

We're proud to say we're establishing a new standard of care for patients living with chronic conditions, one that's rooted in compassion, empathy, and deep clinical expertise. Are you ready to build your chronic disease management program? Click here to learn how Engooden can support your practice and patients.