Genevieve Belfiglio labeled interactive disease management the future (see May, page 88). As a user of this type of program, I would have to agree. In my experience good disease management improves care and makes the physician's job easier.
All of my patients on the LifeMasters diabetes program experienced success in improving their health and well being. Several patients who I had difficulty motivating to improve their diabetes management made drastic changes. The nurse-supported coaching and monitoring with physician control and involvement proved to be a winning combination for these diabetics. Their management algorithms alerted me to potentially dangerous problems that the patients would not have notified me about if not for the nurses' prompting and their follow-up fax messages.
Good disease management works like a bridge between office visits, providing the physician with detailed data about a patient's condition, and providing the patient with the support necessary to live productive and happy lives. That's the future we should all be working toward.
Glen Randall, M.D.