7.18.16

People with chronic health conditions often have regular jobs while also dealing with a whole separate type of “work” from being a patient.

Dr. Victor Montori of the Mayo Clinic recently told an NPR reporter that this “work” stems from the health care system being designed for the convenience of doctors and other practitioners. Montori is among those now looking to make delivery of medicine less disruptive for chronic disease patients.

In the past, this system worked because people typically only saw a doctor for a rare issue such as an injury or infection. Nowadays, however, “most people by middle age are dealing with a chronic condition that requires regular care.”

“For people with chronic conditions, the health care system is blind to their context,” Montori told NPR. “In particular, it’s blind to the work of being a patient and the capacity that people have to shoulder that work and make it happen.”

Instead, health care providers might consider offering care where patients can more easily access it, such as in schools or workplaces or during evenings and on weekends.

On the Mayo Clinic’s website, Montori explains that minimally disruptive medicine “focuses on pursuing the patient’s goals (preventing premature death, feeling better, and living without hindrance from complications of disease or treatment) while reducing the treatment burden. Together, these approaches offer hope of patient-centered care to the most vulnerable (and expensive) patients and help better translate research evidence into practice.”

Studies also support this idea.

In “Minimally disruptive medicine: the evidence and conceptual progress supporting a new era of health care,” released in 2015, experts found that reshaping the health care system for patients could increase providers’ ability to deliver optimal care.

But many doctors say it’s not just the health-care system’s structure causing problems, NPR reported: “It’s also complex rules imposed by Medicare and insurance companies that make the work of being a patient harder.”

You can read more about insurance issues faced by patients with chronic disease by clicking here.