Tracking Chronic Diseases More Effectively

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) last week released “A Nationwide Framework for Surveillance of Cardiovascular and Chronic Lung Diseases” encouraging the construct of a national surveillance system focused on more effectively tracking information related to chronic diseases.  The proposed blueprint would serve as an indispensable resource to policymakers in their pursuit of reducing healthcare costs and preserving the quality of care.

In essence, this coordinated national system would report more comprehensive, timely data to stakeholders and policymakers at all levels – whether it be local, state, regional and national – and the insight gained from the data will ideally guide more well-informed investments in better-designed programs that focus on prevention and care coordination. 

Chronic diseases are the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs in the United States. In fact, nearly half (45 percent) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and more than two-thirds of all deaths are caused by one or more of five chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes.  Developments like that of the IOM encourage a more positive approach to addressing these highly manageable and largely preventable chronic health conditions.

As our country and individual states increasingly explore ways to improve health outcomes and also make a fiscal impact on their bottom lines, PFCD applauds the IOM’s efforts to explore more innovative solutions that aim to help achieve these health care goals.