In Categories: Economic Impact

To hear more about how continuous remote care differs from the norm, listen to this recorded interview.

Think back to the last time you were sick and went to the doctor. How long did it take you to decide that your symptoms warranted a doctor’s appointment?

A couple of hours?

A couple of days?

If you have ever been a patient, you are probably familiar with the uncertainty involved in deciding whether and when to seek medical care. And, if you are one of the 60 percent of American adults living with at least one chronic condition, you know how challenging it can be when your symptoms take years, rather than days, to develop.

That is why we decided to give traditional outpatient care a checkup. In partnership with a marketing research intern team from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management, we surveyed 168 patients living with type 2 diabetes and 48 healthcare professionals who provide type 2 diabetes care. And, what we found is clear: the challenges patients and providers face when it comes to managing type 2 diabetes may very well be symptoms of an underlying problem with how we treat it.

62% of patients and 76% of providers do not think standard type 2 diabetes care sets them up for success.

Here’s what we learned: episodic health care every 3 – 6 months does not set patients or providers up for success.

71% of providers would want to interact with their patients monthly or more frequently to manage type 2 diabetes.

Outside of these visits, patients have to not only follow the prescribed treatment, but also have the wherewithal to know whether or not it is working. And if it is not, it is their responsibility to schedule additional appointments when needed, and to remember details of their day to day symptoms even when the next appointment could be six months down the road.

73% of providers find it difficult to gather accurate information about their average patient's T2D self-management progress.

83% of providers believe they receive inaccurate information because patients forget details between appointments.

There’s a tendency to focus on patient shortcomings, but perhaps the issue is that the existing standard of care isn’t setting patients up for success.

66% of patients do not find the information they receive from their physicians useful.

Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic whose incidence rate adds 1.5 million new cases every year and amounts to a staggering $327 billion total cost in the United States alone. In the existing care model, providers only have on average 20 minutes to discuss their patient’s progress and develop a treatment plan. So, if our current model is not working, what would it take to shift value in healthcare and affect type 2 diabetes prevalence in the U.S.?

Instead of incremental improvements to outpatient care, we believe the harder but better path forward is continuous remote care. In this system, biomarker data from a patient is automatically uploaded to their electronic medical record (EMR). And from there, artificial intelligence can surface trends to physicians dedicated to this care model, so they could be the ones to reach out to patients the day medical expertise is needed, instead of waiting for the next appointment.

This is no small task, but record-breaking funding into incremental improvements has yet to make a dent on this burgeoning epidemic. From an economic standpoint alone, the burden is untenable. Chronic disease accounts for approximately 75 percent of the nation’s aggregate healthcare spending, and 96 cents per dollar for Medicare and 83 cents per dollar for Medicaid are spent on chronic disease.

To give these individuals and their families a chance to live healthier and more productive lives, we need to address the realities of this disease. Type 2 diabetes is a modern epidemic, and we need to question the norms around how care for it is delivered.

Thank you to our Purdue student team, led by Professor Jinsuh Lee, MS, PhD: Yuefan Jiang, Jia Dai, Tingxuan Kang, Danyang Li, Boxiang Jin, and Nan Ma

 

5 Comments

  1. Dwayne Robinson December 1, 2018 at 5:42 am

    It’s truly an indictment of the medical, pharmacy, and insurance status quo.

    We knew that big money plays a crucial role in the train of thought that only medication can control diabetes.

    If you are a provider, it’s time you think outside the box.
    Carb restriction should be the first step and it’s a proactive move.
    Diabetes, at it’s heart, is nothing more than a glucose regulation issue.
    Humans can create and store glucose but the vast majority of blood glucose comes from diet.
    We Diabetics simply can’t regulate glucose levels properly.

    Similar to the old adage garbage in, garbage out.
    It truly is a matter of carbs in, glucose up.
    We can do little to address the creation and storage of glucose but we can do a great deal about the impact from dietary sources.

    It should be the first strategy employed.
    If you can’t control glucose levels properly, you should not eat a diet filled with foods that impact glucose levels.

    In my time as a group leader in Facebook, I can’t even guess at the times we’ve had to gather around people who are finding no support, or worse, indifference or hostility, towards restricting carbs from their doctor.
    I’ve even head to counsel patients who’ve been dismissed by their doctor for trying carb restriction.

    You should read the 2005 edition of the dietary guidelines.
    This federal document clearly shows that there is no set daily limit for carbs and there is likewise no known level that provides for optimum health.
    It also says that the fat adapted brain works quite well in the absence of carbs.
    It isn’t the government only who is telling half the truth, it is these official agencies who are in charge of setting official standards.

    If you are a patient
    It’s time for you to get real.
    There is no deadlier disease than Diabetes.
    It can and will take your life, but it will do so in so many nefarious ways.
    Heart disease, stroke, cancer but before it does these, it will make your life and quality of life miserable.
    Retinopathy, neuropathy, amputations.

    It is not a disease that is unsurmountable!!!
    It is only “normal” for diabetics to worsen because the typical method of treatment is completely wrong.
    The Greek word for this is Iatrogenia, brought forth by the healer.
    Diabetes is what Diabetes is because we are taught to feed our disease.
    The very diet used and meant to control Diabetes, actually empowers it.

    Diabetics need ever increasing meds because the typical diet isn’t suited to the disease pathophysiology.
    If you can no longer properly control glucose levels, you should eat a diet that doesn’t provoke large glucose excursions post meal.

    A very low carb diet where carbs are from low count whole carbs is very powerful in reversing Diabetes, reducing or eliminating meds and slowing, halting or reversing progression.
    Those of us who’ve seen this result are not mild diabetics. We aren’t magicians.
    We’ve learned the truth about carbs and Diabetes and we’ve rejected the status quo because we want to restore our health, not mask our symptoms with medication or further our disease by empowering it.

    It’s time for YOU to get real
    Stop believing the doctor is god. They are not. They are fallible. That diploma hanging on the wall does little to make their word “gospel”
    “My doctor says….” is a pothole on the road to becoming a Diabetes statistic.

    Medication does not fix it all. That’s not “what the pill is for”
    Medications are a tool to relieve symptoms. The ONLY drug that actually addresses diabetes physiology is metformin, the rest simply address the symptoms, namely high glucose.
    Stop believing that medicine is the cure or only way to fix this.

    Put YOU first!!
    Your doctor works for you!!
    You are not the silent partner in the relationship.
    It is not the doctor who will suffer the consequences of poor advice, it is YOU!
    If your doctor isn’t willing to support you, it’s time to find one who will.

    Put GLUCOSE at the top of your list!!
    Not weight
    Weight loss helps but it will not fix diabetes.
    You may lose enough weight that your glucose improves drastically, your doctor may even declare you no longer Diabetic.
    The body has no such definitions.
    It IS possible to be medically no longer Diabetic, but the biology of the body is a different matter. Defining this level or that level as “diabetic” is an insurance standard. If you can’t properly control glucose levels, you are Diabetic. Period.
    Act like it!!

    Stop killing yourself.
    You do not need carb.
    The body can adapt to a low or no carb diet and it does so amazingly well.
    Stop eating crap!!
    Do you really want that cake or pie more than your eyesight? Your toes?
    Damage from Diabetes is like filling up a good one drop at a time
    Today’s damage builds in yesterday’s damage until one day, the glass spills over and you’ve got to add more drugs and higher doses.
    You can’t out medicate a bad diabetes diet.
    It’s time to get real.

    You CAN do this
    You CAN love a long and healthy life with diabetes
    You just have to stop feeding your disease the very thing it must have to do is dirty deeds, glucose in the form of carbs in the diet.

    It really is that simple
    Carbs in, glucose up
    You don’t control a fire by throwing gasoline on the flames
    You don’t control a glucose regulation disease by eating a diet filled with glucose from foods.
    Lots of carbs in, glucose up more
    Less carbs in, glucose up less

    Try it and see if it doesn’t improve.
    Choices have two outcomes
    Rewards or consequences
    Get real
    Stop allowing your disease to make that decision.

    Reply

  2. Please continue to provide these insights! Consider addressing specific aspects of what to expect from Verta; as if addressing a perspective patient. Each episode might include: 1) one thing to expect from Virta, 2) a corresponding patient success story related specifically to what was addressed in #1 and 3) a suggestion or recipe for use with a nutritionally balanced ketogenic diet. Thanks for this story!
    *improved sound quality would be awesome!

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      Great feedback, Karen!

      Reply

  3. The woman at the top of the page appears to be over 70 years of age. I am over 70 and have been declined by Virta. When is this age discrimination aspect of Virta going to be resolved? I would love to have the support of Virta.

    Reply

    1. Virta Health

      Hi Diane, As a science and evidence based company, we make our decisions based on our research and that of others. This means that, currently, we won’t accept patients younger than 18 or older than 69 at the time of application. We would encourage you to explore treatment options with your existing physician, as others might be able to provide the type of support required for you.

      Reply

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