IN-HOME CARE: IMPROVING CARE OUTCOMES IN OPTIMAL SETTINGS
Determining which care setting is most appropriate includes taking into account the overall well-being of patients. Home is a more comfortable, familiar setting, for starters. Also, patients aren’t exposed to dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections that may be found in hospitals. While patients with chronic conditions need regular care, that care can often be delivered at home by nurses and other healthcare professionals who coordinate with the patient’s doctor potentially using m-heath or e-health tools. Regular, reliable home care ensures changes in their condition can be caught early on and their treatment can be quickly adjusted. The result: better-managed conditions and fewer hospitalisations.
Caring for patients in the most optimal setting can also help control costs by freeing up hospital resources for acute patients.
Innovative technologies and new ways of thinking about healthcare are giving patients the opportunity to be active participants in their own care.
In France, Ahmed .B, 28, uses an app on his smartphone to record his vital signs and track symptoms of his illness, Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the intestines. The app collects and transmits his data directly to his doctor, who can quickly identify and treat flare-ups. The app also helps Ahmed understand and manage his condition better, which helps keep his health stable.
In the UK, the city of Liverpool has created a programme to help chronically-ill and elderly patients remain in their homes via innovative technologies. With health tools that allow patients and caregivers to interact and share information, it is steadily changing the landscape of care. The DALLAS programme (Delivering Assisted Lifestyles Living At Scale), has grown steadily, with more than 1500 patients participating in 2015.
Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital has developed The Swedish Rheumatology Quality Registry, an online tool designed to help both arthritis patients and their rheumatologists. Patients are active participants in their own care as they track their symptoms, which are then mapped and analysed via a secured website. Their data also contributes to large-scale research projects, helping to advance understanding of arthritis and other rheumatology conditions.
Technology is giving patients the opportunity to take their health into their own hands, helping them become active partners in treatment decisions.
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.