The Symposium on Advances in Chronic Disease Care

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Vision
As a society we face a critical dilemma. Chronic diseases now consume over 80% of the $1.2 trillion spent on healthcare each year. Yet, the healthcare system is not organized nor financed to manage chronic disease as chronic disease. It is organized to manage it as a series of acute events. The ultimate costs for chronic disease care are being pushed out into the future. It's like that old commercial for Fram oil filters when the mechanic says, "Pay me now or pay me later." We are failing to change the "oil filters" of a huge and growing population of people with chronic disease. As a consequence we are paying to rebuild their "engines."

Our system of financing healthcare in America has encouraged this model. Managed care and Medicare have not paid for prevention, quality and a delivery system that recognizes the long-term nature of chronic disease. As a result the care being delivered is becoming less and less appropriate, more and more wasteful, and the problems are compounding, as the baby boomers pass 50 and enter their chronic illness years. The healthcare system itself is buckling. Increasing demand, new drugs, new technologies, combine with further cut-backs in the Balanced Budget Act to produce a situation where two-thirds of the hospitals are marginal, losing money or closing. Physician incomes are down and early retirements are common.

What's at stake? An estimated 5 million suffer from congestive heart failure alone, costing the country $38 billion a year ($23 billion just for hospital stays). Diabetics consumed 15% of total expenditures last year, and cost about $98 billion. Alzheimer's affects 4 million people, costing an estimated $90 billion and at least half of these patients have other serious illnesses. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the country. Asthma affects 15 million people (including 6 million children) and its victims consume $15 billion a year. Asthma is also the leading cause of childhood hospitalizations. Add to these numbers the costs related to lost productivity by both patients and family caregivers against the backdrop of a very tight labor market, and the need for a better model for chronic disease care becomes even more of a mandate.

The only bright spot in all of this is the emergence of technology and Internet solutions that are beginning to demonstrate their value. Within the last year there has been an explosion of new Internet solutions and emerging technologies. Much of it is so new that physicians, hospitals, health plans, Medicare, and even traditional disease management companies have yet to fully recognize its significance.

Last year an estimated 250 million people worldwide visited the Internet. About 110 million were Americans. Of those who searched the web, 70 million were looking for healthcare information and the fastest growing segment of Internet users are the 50+ age group. An estimated one out of every five people in the 65+ age group has a chronic condition. They want answers.

A recent study indicates that 83% of seniors with Internet access now go online to find disease-specific medical information. According to HCFA, Internet access for 65+ Medicare eligibles has rocketed from 7% in 1997 to 22% in 1999. HCFA's own web site now averages 7 million hits and 1.3 million page views per month and it is growing. Even if your 85-year-old grandmother isn't on line, you can count on the fact that her 50-year-old daughter is. And, Americans generally trust the medical information provided on the Net (55%), at least more so than the information provided by newspapers (30%) or television (28%). So, it should come as no surprise that, as hospitals, physicians and health plans hunker down and limit access, consumers are rushing to obtain the knowledge and tools to care for themselves. Web entrepreneurs are moving rapidly to meet their needs.

We are witnessing the birth of a new industry the E-Care Industry. It is focused on high-profile chronic disease conditions. It represents the next generation of Internet healthcare. It combines elements of many different disciplines & concepts, including telemedicine, remote home care monitoring, disease management, centers of excellence, focused factories, integrated healthcare, wellness & prevention, case management and home health.

The emerging e-companies are difficult to classify, combining content, connectivity, e-commerce, telemedicine, and remote monitoring technologies under one virtual roof. For physicians, hospitals and health plans, E-Care is the next step in an evolution of Web strategies that began by publishing a "brochure," or "bill-board" on the Web and then graduated to interactivity through e-mail and self-assessment devices. Some providers are now moving ahead to actually transact business on the Web (e.g., processing claims, buying supplies). But uncertainties about HIPAA privacy issues, costs and "survival" priorities are slowing progress toward true interactivity.

Employers and health plans, on the other hand, have an immediate incentive to change their traditional approaches to providing health benefits. There is a widespread belief that managed care's ability to contain costs has run its course. Employee surveys also show a deepening dissatisfaction with perceived quality, administrative ease, and access to care. It is unlikely that defined contribution plans will be adopted. So, the interest has turned to strategies for improving quality.

Surveys indicate that disease management is emerging as a critical quality improvement strategy for employers. The dominance of chronic disease as the primary consumer of healthcare resources makes it important to fill the gaps in our current system of care for these patients. If major employers and health plans make effective disease management a priority and actually fund these efforts, physicians and hospitals will soon follow. Today the evidence is finally emerging that Internet solutions are the road to the future. And, that's what this conference is all about.

Goal and Objectives
This symposium is a summit meeting for leaders and innovators. It will provide a forum for communication and networking that cuts across industry lines and presents a holistic, multidisciplinary vision for the future of chronic disease care. It is designed to showcase breakthroughs in Web-based emerging technology focused on the care of chronic disease patients. Upon conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • Explain the strategic issues and market trends surrounding the care of chronic diseases.

  • Explore the potential role of employers in offering technology-based programs that aim to reduce cost by improving quality and reducing errors in healthcare.

  • Offer a vision of the road ahead for break-through, Web-enabled chronic disease care solutions.

  • Present case studies on emerging technologies that are being used today to more effectively and efficiently deal with chronic disease.

  • Address the barriers to progress, including privacy regulations, accuracy of information, legal uncertainty surrounding physician-patient interactions, payment issues, physician inertia and access to capital.

A Summit Meeting for...
This symposium is a summit meeting for leaders and innovators. It will provide a forum for communication and networking that cuts across industry lines and presents a holistic, multidisciplinary vision for the future of chronic disease care. It is designed to showcase breakthroughs in Web-based emerging technology focused on the care of chronic disease patients. Upon conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:
  • PURCHASERS - Business Coalitions - Human Resource Executives - Employee Benefits - Managers

  • PAYORS - Health Plan CEOs - Health Plan Medical Directors - Chief Medical Officers - Planning & Marketing - Chief Medical Information Officers - Chief Information Officers - Disease Managers

  • PROVIDERS - CEOs - Health System Internet Development Teams - Physician Executives - Pharmacist Executives - Chief Medical Officers - Medical Directors - Chief Quality Executives - Chief Medical Information Officers - Disease Managers - Registered Nurse Executives - Home Health Executives

  • TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES - E-Care - Teleheatlh - Disease Management - Device Makers - Portals

Overview | Agenda | Sponsors | Promotional Opportunities | Continuing Education | Travel/Accommodations
Registration | Privacy Policy | Administration | Contact Us | Home