The role of chronic disease management
Although the cost has been high, the coronavirus pandemic has illustrated how much societies around the globe share — and how they can come together to improve health.
The impact of COVID-19 has been severe on those with compromised immunity and pre-existing health conditions, a stark reminder of the toll chronic health conditions take.
According to a study by BMC Health Services Research, nearly two-thirds of deaths worldwide in 2008 were attributable to chronic disease. That means identifying and treating those with chronic illness is a priority during the current pandemic.
Identifying common elements for success
That BMC study, released in May 2015, analyzed 77 studies of chronic care management models in the U.S. and overseas and identified elements of the Wagner chronic care model that can reduce the impact of chronic illness:
- Mobilizing community resources
- Promoting high-quality care
- Enabling patient self-management
- Implementing care consistent with evidence and patient preferences
- Effectively using patient/population data
- Cultural competence, care coordination, and health promotion
CMS introduces Chronic Care Management
A few months before the BMC study, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced its Chronic Care Management program, an effort to improve care for patients with two or more chronic illnesses.
Many practices quickly embraced the CCM program, which offered them a way to be reimbursed for care services they had been providing for years.
CCM is showing success
What has been the impact of the CCM program?
In November 2017, Mathematica Policy Research released a study evaluating the impact of the CCM program over the first two years of its existence, and found that providers and care managers reported:
- Improved patient satisfaction and adherence to therapies
- Greater clinician efficiency
- Fewer hospitalizations and ER visits
The CCM program allows practices to be reimbursed for providing at least 20 minutes of non-face-to-face time each month to patients with two or more chronic conditions.
Many eClinicalWorks practices have enabled our CCM solution, part of our suite of Population Health products. eClinicalWorks makes it easy to participate in CCM, with dashboards to identify eligible patients, timers to track the minutes devoted to each patient’s care, and automate generation of claims when the 20-minute threshold is reached.
Three reasons to embrace CCM today
CCM has already demonstrated excellent outcomes for practices around the nation. And there are three key reasons it is particularly timely for providers:
- CCM offers practices a way to reach out to their most vulnerable patients at a time when they need services — and contact with their caregivers — more than ever.
- Our healow Telehealth Solutions, including healow TeleVisits™ and hello2healow™, offer practices affordable and convenient ways to conduct the audio/visual calls that qualify toward the 20-minute monthly requirements of the CCM program.
- With so many practices forced to curtail physical office visits, combining telehealth technology with the CCM program is an effective way to claim reimbursements for services medical practices are already providing — at a time when revenues may be reduced.