While COVID-19-related lockdowns and social distancing have helped slow its spread, they’re also responsible for 41% of Americans skipping or delaying health care.1
Routine care for chronic disease is an ongoing major challenge. Diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypertension were the most impacted conditions due to reduction in access to care. 80% reported the mental health of their patients worsened during COVID-19. It is important routine care continues in spite of the pandemic, to avoid a rise in non-COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality.2 Fortunately, we know prevention includes eating well, being physically active, avoiding tobacco and excessive drinking, and getting regular health screenings.
Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to disrupt health care services for patients living with chronic diseases—including missed or delayed checkups or diagnostic tests, and reduced access to medications and supplies. Restrictions may also negatively impact daily living routines, as patients may exercise less, eat an unbalanced diet, or feel the effects of added stress on their mental health.
As the health care industry faces an uphill battle to address the health of patients with chronic disease who’ve delayed care—including those now managing a chronic disease for the first time as a long-term side effect of COVID-19—implementing three technologies can help reduce COVID-19’s impact on the health of these patients:
Turn to telehealth to help patients keep regular checkups
Encourage patients who may be apprehensive about keeping up with routine care via in-person visits to consider virtual visits as an alternative. Even after the pandemic eases, telehealth is expected to continue to rise. Innovate how you approach visits, improving effectiveness by remotely delivering patient education and videos supporting your care.
Text patients to keep them on track with medication and care reminders
Support patients via text messaging, with clinically validated patient education. Use SMS platforms to text care reminders—including prescription medication refills and savings opportunities—to increase adherence.
Share stay-healthy-at-home education via your patient portal
Help patients maintain and improve health and well-being by delivering the right education at the right time, through your patient portal. Share health and wellness resources featuring healthy nutrition and condition-specific recipes and tips, at-home workouts, stress management, and more.
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1 Czeisler M, Marynak K, Clarke K et al. Delay or avoidance of medical care because of COVID-19-related concerns—United States, June 2020. CDC Web site. Accessed January 22, 2021.
2 Impact of COVID-19 on routine care for chronic diseases. National Institutes of Health Web site. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7308780/ Accessed February 3, 2021.