Managing care instead of cures

June 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

What disease management offers to patients and reps.

Disease management provides salespeople with the opportunity to become key members of the patient care team. Disease management aims to improve health outcomes and focuses on diseases that require care instead of cures, such as diabetes and asthma.

There are four major principles of disease management:

1. Understanding the disease's course, causes, patterns and cost drivers: This involves conducting a needs assessment to define who the end users are.

It is often necessary to survey the patient pool for age, socioeconomic status and health-related habits to find common chronic conditions that can be targeted for disease management programs.

2. Performing Diagnosis and treatment: This step involves gathering and evaluating key medical information, or evidence. Treatment recommendations, or clinical practice guidelines, should be made based on the evidence.

3. Educating for compliance: By educating doctors and patients, we can improve patient compliance and care. Salespeople's role of educating doctors and patients will expand a great deal through disease management.

4. Working toward cost-effective treatments: Realistic clinical outcomes studies will help provide us with the best and most cost-effective treatments.

In order for these clinical studies to be effective, they need to include economic, clinical and humanistic criteria.

The beauty of the disease management process is not only is it a more cost-effective approach - it is a more effective therapy approach.

Patients benefit by improved functional well-being, consideration of their human needs, education and empowerment, because they are very active in their own treatment. PR