In my experience working in Social Marketing at Ogilvy, we address chronic conditions on a daily basis—heart disease, kidney disease, cancer—and work to reach our target audiences to educate them on preventative measures, to better the public health of America.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of seeing chronic conditions through a new lens. The 2010 HeartCaring Conference yesterday hosted by Spirit Health Group® included a fascinating keynote speaker, Dr. Anand Parekh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health. He addressed multiple concurrent chronic conditions and the needs of people who have them. Statistics point to the fact that if you have one chronic condition, you likely have another. Did you know that approximately 75 million Americans have multiple chronic conditions (MCC)? 27% of all Americans have MCC? 66% of total health care spending is directed toward care of people with MCC?
The statistics are actually quite startling. And from a social marketing perspective, audiences need streamlined messaging for health information to resonate. If people with MCC are being bombarded with messaging about obesity, blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease all at the same time from various places, will they ever remember a simple step on how to reduce risk factors for any one of those conditions?
HHS has recognized this challenge and is taking a fresh look at the needs of people with MCC. They are planning to launch a finalized strategic approach to MCC this summer, in conjunction with stakeholders including other public agencies, private corporations, and nonprofit organizations. A draft of their strategic approach is currently available for commentary on the HHS Web site. People with comments can write to MCC@hhs.gov so that their voices are heard regarding this new initiative.
I think that the goals of the program are strong: 1) Provide tools to individuals with MCC, 2) Maximize self-care management, 3) Foster public health systems to provide care for people with MCC, and 4) Facilitate research to fill knowledge gaps.