Diabetes is one of the most prevalent and burdensome conditions in United States. Approximately 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, and another 86 million with prediabetes. Together, these conditions cost the American health system $322 billion dollars a year.
Because of this, hospitals and health systems are consistently looking for cost-effective ways of engaging people with diabetes to self-manage their condition. For many organizations, this means exhausting resources to try and manually reach out to their entire diabetic populations. Yet, more often than not, this approach is unsustainable and / or costly.
One of our clients, a large health system, was challenged by this exact issue. It needed to support its complex diabetic populations to drive understanding, self-management and positive behavior and lifestyle changes. However, with staff resources limited or already stretched thin, the system sought out a technology-based solution to help provide high-touch engagement without adding additional strain to staff.
Extending Its Reach with Technology
In an effort to educate and empower its diabetic population to take more active roles in managing their condition, the organization chose to utilize online, multimedia programs. These programs are watched in the comfort of the patients’ home – requiring no additional time in the clinical setting – and they explain what diabetes is, how it can be managed, and the steps to successful maintenance such as how to check blood sugar, how an insulin pen works, the importance of eye exams, etc. The organization chose to send 200,000 of these online programs to its chronic and newly diagnosed diabetic patients.
In addition to this outreach, the organization also chose to deliver these online, multimedia programs to newly diagnosed diabetic patients every two months. The entire diabetic population would also continue to receive programs once per quarter for four quarters.
The online multimedia programs provided utilization data so that the organization could judge the success of its outreach. From this data, it was able to see that they had engaged a substantial percentage of its diabetic population without requiring manual staff support. For example:
- 145,000+ online multimedia programs were viewed by diabetic patients
- 63,000+ diabetic patients viewed one program or more
- 12,000+ diabetic patients viewed three programs
This study showcases how technology can be an effective tool to help extend clinical reach with technology but, for many organizations, the question is where to start? With so many solutions in the patient engagement market, how can an organization know what will work best for its challenges, workflow and circumstances?
To help, we recommend our eBook, “The Eight Elements of Effective Patient Engagement.”