One of the biggest challenges for any healthcare system is how to support patients with chronic disease. While focusing on the availability of healthcare professionals is understandable, this may mean neglecting the basic tenets of chronic disease management and the greater challenge that lies elsewhere. ‘To me, managing chronic disease well is founded on three basic principles: self- management, peer support, and access to trained professionals. We do not spend enough time and effort on the first two.
‘For instance, in self-management much attention is given to what the healthcare system perceives to be the best way to deliver it instead of what is actually needed or even relevant today. A case in point is education programmes in diabetes care. Until the start of the covid-19 pandemic these programmes still focused on delivering learning through face-to-face, classroom-style sessions, despite the fact that a huge range of tasks—from banking to booking cinema tickets and flights—are today carried out on smartphones in the palms of our hands.