A new survey of Cecelia Health’s multidisciplinary clinical team finds that disease management is now the top concern for patients living with cardiometabolic conditions
Cecelia Health has released results from a survey of over 100 of their clinicians revealing how a post-pandemic period where most daily activities are returning to normal is impacting chronic disease management. The survey asked clinicians to answer questions about their recent interactions with program participants who live with cardiometabolic conditions including cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and obesity.
When asked to rank the top concerns discussed during virtual care visits, the clinicians cited health goal management—such as lowering A1c, blood pressure, and weight—as a top concern expressed by their patients (53%, with 24% reporting it as the number one concern among their patients). This demonstrates an increase from a similar survey done in 2021 which resulted in 40% citing health goal management as a top concern, with only 12% citing it as the number one concern among their patients.
“In 2021, our clinicians saw discussions around mental health issues like depression and anxiety take priority over discussions about disease management itself. However, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, more patients are now making disease management a high priority in their lives,” said Mark Clermont, chief executive officer at Cecelia Health. “The clinician-led support that our multidisciplinary team delivers, especially in those critical moments between doctor visits, allows individuals to be better equipped to navigate cardiometabolic health management in a way that addresses all of their unique needs to meet health goals.”
As a follow-up to a 2021 study that found mental health was a bigger concern for people living with diabetes than diabetes itself, this survey was expanded to include clinicians who support several chronic disease management programs. Questions were fielded in Q4 2022, and 111 clinicians—including Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, Registered Dietitians, and Registered Nurses—shared responses. Approximately 10% of the clinicians surveyed support programs in a language other than English.
Financial concerns remain a substantial topic, with 77% of clinicians discussing it in sessions with patients over the past year (up from 69% in 2021). However, fewer clinicians (37%) reported it as the number one issue they expect to discuss in the next six months (down from 51% in 2021). Other findings from the survey include:
- 80% of clinician respondents reported discussing depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns with patients during sessions in the last year (up 3 percentage points from 77% in 2021).
- 84% of clinicians surveyed discussed diabetes itself (up 13 percentage points from 71% in 2021).
- 77% of clinician respondents reported discussing obesity (up 12 percentage points from 65% in 2021).
- 25% of clinicians surveyed say the patients they support are more motivated to adhere to their care management plan in the last year (up 8 percentage points from 17% in 2021).
When asked to report on a memorable interaction with a patient, one Cecelia Health clinician, a bilingual Registered Dietitian, responded, “a patient told me she is very grateful that I not only provide health education related to her chronic medical conditions but can also counsel on mental health issues, which is a determinant of overall health.” This demonstrates the value of relationship building for accountability and importance of connection on health management. The clinician added, “she also values that I check up on her at least once monthly, as no one else does. [This patient] stated the lack of check-ins negatively impacted her health more than her chronic physical conditions.”
Nearly all clinicians surveyed believe telehealth and remote support allow them to build trusting relationships with patients that make a demonstrable difference in their everyday lives. More than three-quarters of clinicians (78%) believe the use of telehealth will continue to grow as a resource for chronic condition management throughout 2023. While the use of telehealth services and remote care quickly became a norm due to the pandemic, its positive impacts suggest this type of care is here to stay and will continue to evolve. For example, Cecelia Health is expanding the use case for telehealth beyond the typical primary care setting through virtual specialty care. Patients, as appropriate, are connected to specialists—including endocrinologists, cardiologists, and nephrologists—which increases access to care, delivers a better patient experience and, ultimately, leads to better health outcomes.