What You Should Know:
Wellframe report finds patients want access to virtual solutions to help manage their chronic conditions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the chronic condition population by delaying access to care and exacerbating mental health challenges.
Wellframe, a provider of Digital Health Management solutions, announced the findings of its COVID-19 Chronic Condition Patient Population Report highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the chronic patient population, and identifies opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of those facing the greatest threat from the ongoing crisis. The survey focused on respondents managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, and the findings show that COVID-19 has significantly impacted their ability to manage their conditions. The results also shine a light on multiple opportunities to better support this vulnerable patient population.
Impact of Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions are the leading cause of disability and death in the United States, and also the primary driver of the nation’s annual healthcare costs, which topped $3.5 trillion in 2018. In fact, 90% of the nation’s healthcare expenditures are for those with chronic conditions. When you look at those affected, six in 10 adults in the U.S. have one chronic condition, and four in 10 have two or more chronic conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unique attention to this group, given their vulnerability and high risk status for severe illness from COVID-19.
Wellframe collected responses via a third-party provider from 884 U.S.-based patients, 18 years and older in May 2020. Respondents all had one or more chronic conditions including allergies, anemia, anxiety disorders, asthma, chronic dry eye, chronic pain, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, high cholesterol, hypertension, hypothyroidism, insomnia, osteoarthritis and type 2 diabetes. Wellframe used the responses to determine the findings of its COVID-19 Chronic Condition Patient Population Index.
The impact of COVID-19 on people with chronic conditions
The survey indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the chronic condition population by delaying access to care and exacerbating mental health challenges. Specific findings include:
– More than half (57%) of respondents have delayed receiving healthcare services due to the pandemic – at either their own discretion or that of their doctor – and one in four (26%) patients have had trouble accessing their doctor.
– Additionally, more than half of respondents (52%) report that they have not been provided a healthcare regimen by their doctor to effectively manage their condition, and more than one third (38%) are not fully confident in their ability to manage their chronic condition.
– When respondents were asked if they were familiar with the term care management before the survey, more than one third (37%) said they were not. This suggests a critical opportunity to raise awareness for services that can assist chronic condition patients during these difficult times.
People with chronic conditions are motivated to improve management of health, but unaware of solutions
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans living with chronic conditions are motivated to take better control of managing their health. When surveyed on the appeal of using virtual care management as a solution to support health regimen adherence, respondents were strongly in favor:
– A majority of chronic condition patients (74%) indicated that the pandemic has motivated them to take better control of managing their health.
– More than two thirds (68%) think access to virtual support from a care management team would help them to more effectively adhere to their prescribed healthcare regimen. This includes 61% of people over 45 years old and 79% of people under 29 years old, implying broader adoption by younger generations but broad appeal across generations.
– 66% of respondents (74% under the age of 29) would use a virtual care management team to manage mental health difficulties brought about by COVID-19.
“Wellframe provides health plans the capability to extend care beyond the health system by identifying, engaging, and monitoring individuals who are managing chronic conditions,” said Jacob Sattelmair, CEO and co-founder of Wellframe. “It is more imperative than ever for healthcare organizations to deploy virtual support for this vulnerable population, and health plans are in a unique position to be able to do so.