The U.S. healthcare system is excellent at delivering emergency and acute care. It falters at managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure (CHF). We launched an in-depth ethnographic study to understand why chronic disease management is so difficult and whether digital therapeutics could help.
We shadowed patients recently discharged with chronic condition diagnoses and talked to their physicians. We asked about their issues and wish lists. The process produced clear insights into the capabilities that physicians and patients need to effectively manage the chronic conditions. It also enabled us to identify a persona, Marge, diagnosed with CHF, who reflects the typical patient in our ethnographic study. Marge’s journey (see figure below) spotlights the core challenges of effective chronic condition management.