For chronic care to be truly effective, citizens must be empowered to understand and participate in their care from prevention to treatment, from hospital to home.
All citizens will be patients at some point in their lives. If individuals understand their abilities, opportunities and responsibilities and know how to navigate the complexity of health systems, they will be better able to prevent or manage chronic disease. Health literacy, technology and patient involvement in care are key to making healthcare more user-friendly. This means governments must shift away from medical paternalism and see citizens as custodians of their own health.
IN-HOME AND COMMUNITY-BASED CARE
Most hospital systems aren’t currently structured to handle the volume of patients who will be needing chronic care in the near future. Using new technologies (m-health and e-health) to monitor and care for patients at home or in community-based care rather than in hospital settings will be key to the restructuring of care delivery. This shift will reduce the risk of infections in the hospitals, ease constraints on public healthcare resources, and above all, reduce system strain due to a lack of physicians and provide better health outcomes for patients.
Spotlight on Prevention: When, Who and How?
Unhealthy lifestyles and lack of physical activity are key factors in the development of chronic diseases. Early prevention and diagnosis, better education, and above all collaboration among governments, patient organizations, and industry are crucial to prevent chronic diseases from arising.