The crucial role of diagnostics in disease management

To effectively manage a disease, data collected from screening, diagnostics and monitoring or follow-ups helps track each patient’s situation, and highlights opportunities for self-care, as appropriate.

Disease management actions are a critical component of health systems. They include advice and communication between healthcare professionals and patients and also link patients to a network of services to support their medical, psychological, and wellbeing needs. When a disease is effectively managed, each patient better understands their condition and can live more comfortably. For infectious diseases, the goal is to minimise transmission, manage patient care and cure where possible. With chronic conditions, management helps people live better lives and avoid further complications. For neurodegenerative diseases, supportive therapy can also help manage a patient’s condition while research is ongoing on slowing down disease progression.

The information that diagnostics generate minimises the impact of diseases on people and society.

For example, analysis of a tissue or a blood sample gives clinicians precise insight into a patient’s disease, recovery, or progression. Equally, ongoing testing and monitoring along their journey helps patients and their healthcare professionals understand if the current therapy is most appropriate, or if other options should be considered. This situation is common in infectious diseases and cancer care. The digitalisation of testing and monitoring data presents a further opportunity to improve patient care. Indeed, this data, properly harnessed, can inform healthcare decisions and help manage a patient’s disease while providing a framework for statistical analysis and insight mining.

Once diagnosed, disease management programmes and diagnostic solutions ensure that patients have support along their treatment journeys. For the healthcare system, access to diagnostic information for managing diseases helps avoid unnecessary service delivery, reduces the overall cost of care, improves its effectiveness and contributes to saving lives.

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