ICT in Chronic Disease Management
The prevalence and incidence of chronic diseases continue to rise. Aging demographics and deleterious lifestyle behaviors are the two most significant contributing risk factors. The worsening chronic disease situation will not only affect an ever larger number of people, but also result in significant human and economic costs to the health system and society. The worsening chronic disease situation will also be accompanied by an increase in the number of conditions per individual. This will in turn create more complex care management needs, unnecessary hospitalizations, adverse drug events, duplicative tests, conflicting medical advice, and poor functional status.
The capacity of the current health care system to effectively manage this growth in chronic diseases will be seriously challenged, particularly by critical service infrastructure constraints in the form of a growing shortage of qualified professional caregivers. This challenging situation will impress upon key stakeholders the need for transformation of the health care delivery system, through innovative service delivery redesign and the deployment of enabling Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to broaden caregiver roles and responsibilities and sites of care. This is necessary in order to expand capacity and provide the necessary levels of chronic care management.
The role of ICT in chronic disease management, in particular remote health services and mobile and web technologies, can offer transformative change. These technologies have the ability to improve remote access to care services on a regular basis, impact critical health care measures, improve outcomes and can be readily adopted and diffused into chronic care practices.