Commonwealth Fund Report: We Must Improve Care of Patients with Chronic Conditions

While the healthcare industry’s move to value-based care is well underway, a new report released this month from The Commonwealth Fund suggests that the U.S. is still not effectively managing its patients with multiple chronic conditions. To reach this conclusion, The Commonwealth Fund surveyed a total of more than 11,000 primary care doctors, specifically looking at the U.S. and nine other major industrialized countries.

The results found that despite having the youngest population of the 10 western countries, the U.S. has the highest incidence of chronic disease and spends 50% to 150% more on healthcare per capita. Further, up to one in four U.S. primary care doctors believe their practices aren’t well prepared to manage care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.

In the words of Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund:

“We are not doing well coordinating care of the sickest and most costly patients. We probably have the worst primary care system in the world.”

The results of the survey may seem particularly distressing considering that the CMS has been hard at work designing programs meant to help primary care physicians improve the care of these chronically ill patients, as they are often the most expensive and at-risk for readmissions and emergency department visits.

Despite the alarming nature of the Commonwealth Fund report, blaming primary care physicians for the industry’s shortcomings isn’t the answer, and neither is criticizing the CMS’ programs that seek to remedy these problems. It is no secret that today’s primary care physicians are overtaxed, and as the report demonstrates, many are without the resources necessary to partake in initiatives even if they are willing.

As such, the challenge to the healthcare industry is clear: Now is the time to develop coordinated care tools allowing PCPs to efficiently and cost-effectively treat patients with multiple chronic conditions.

We at Wellbox  recognize this, and it’s our mission to allow practices to accomplish this goal, all without disrupting day-to-day operation and keeping costs manageable. In our new outcomes-based economy it is no longer enough to discharge a patient and let them operate freely until the next check-up.

Coordinated care is here to stay, and it’s time we all climbed on board.

Interested in learning more? Read the full Commonwealth Report here: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/34/12/2104.abstract

About the Author

Patrick Stevenson is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Wellbox, the all-inclusive solution for tracking and billing for Chronic Care Management and Annual Wellness Visits, as well as offering in-demand Telemedicine and Remote Patient Monitoring services.

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