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Chronic Disease Management
Just think, not too many generations ago, few survived to have a chronic disease. People did not live long enough. People died of infections or accidents. Childbirth was another frequent killer. Today we are fortunate to live long enough to have a chronic illness for 20-30 years. The focus of healthy behavior and health care is to prevent the complications of such things as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. We now go to the doctor when we feel well. We take medications every day when we feel well. The pay off will be in a longer, more comfortable life.
Your doctor or health care provider now has a more complicated task. Your doctor now has to help you, help yourself, remain healthy. You and your doctor have to keep track of multiple medications. The two of you have to keep track of tests that may go back over decades. You must take an active part in your care. Medical knowledge is expanding and changing rapidly. New tests and techniques continue to emerge. Also, new trends in medical care include the use of treatment teams and electronic record systems. This means that your provider must keep track of many patients with more medications, more tests, more treatment providers and more techniques.
All of these changes require the system to change. The system has to be centered on you the patient. This means your provider should be working toward adopting new approaches and technologies as they emerge. Your provider should have an up to date record keeping system to keep track of your information. Your provider should have a record system that tracks the health of all her patients so that you and those who help you pay for your care know that you are getting best possible care. Your doctor can no longer help you alone. Many patients are now cared for by teams of providers. Some team members educate you. Other team members may coordinate your care with others in the community. To be the effective team leader of your care, you must become informed.