Long before she was diagnosed with diabetes, 50-year-old RJ knew she was at risk for developing the disease. But after she began exhibiting symptoms, she put off seeing a doctor. It was too time-consuming and expensive to seek medical care, especially since RJ faced socioeconomic barriers.
Once RJ finally saw a doctor, she found it difficult to remember to follow her new diet, medication regimen and exercise routine. Her self-care soon took a backseat to managing her job and fulfilling her family and household responsibilities.
Following a treatment plan after a chronic disease diagnosis can be challenging for many patients, but it’s especially difficult for women such as RJ who face socioeconomic barriers.
Mobile technology has the potential to break down those barriers, and Verizon is actively seeking ways to remove obstacles in chronic disease care.
Remote Disease Management
Mobile technology can be used to extend care directly into patients’ homes to help them manage their diseases, according to Dr. Nanette Wenger, a professor in the Cardiology Division of Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine.
“Women across the spectrum utilize their phones to connect on a daily basis,” says Dr. Wenger. “There is good reason to believe that this same technology can help women most at risk connect not only with the disease education they need, but the daily monitoring, support and feedback that will strengthen their disease outcomes in the long term.”
The Verizon Foundation is working in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and Emory University to remove barriers to care by integrating a wireless biometric device—such as a glucometer or a weight scale—with an online portal. Patients can access the portal remotely by using a connected device (e.g., smartphone or computer), then upload and review their real-time personal data as gathered by the biometric device.
Strengthening Doctor-patient Communication
This partnership makes communicating with healthcare providers simple and convenient. With virtual-care technology, even the busiest patients can manage their diseases anytime, anywhere. Using a smartphone, tablet or computer, they can set up appointments, check on their progress, ask questions of their providers, and participate in virtual visits simply by using the device’s video capabilities. Patients can take greater control over their health while staying better connected to their healthcare providers—resulting in less frequent hospital stays, and ultimately lower medical costs.
For healthcare providers, real-time patient data offers the benefit of providing customized care. Remote monitoring bridges the gap in communication between doctor and patient, and allows clinicians to look for patterns or unexpected spikes in their patients’ vitals.
By removing obstacles to care, Verizon and its partners believe that patients such as RJ will be empowered to make the everyday changes they need to manage their conditions properly. They can monitor their progress regularly and more easily stick to their treatment plans. Ultimately, these steps will lead to better self-care and improved long-term health.