2.1 Disease State Fundamentals

Chapter 2.1
Additional Resources

As described in Chapter 2.1, gaining an in-depth understanding of the disease state related to a need is essential before any potential solutions are considered.  The steps below have been excerpted from the chapter and are presented with active web links to assist innovators in getting started with disease state analysis.

Assess Anatomy and Physiology
  1. What to Cover – Describe the normal anatomy and physiology of the affected organ(s) and/or system(s).
  2. Where to Look
    • Harrison’s Online – Contains the complete contents of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine.
    • Medical References – Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology or another standard medical textbook will provide valuable, credible, and detailed information regarding physiology. References such as Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy or Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body are important anatomy references.
    • eMedicine – Clinical knowledge base with more than 10,000 physician authors and editors.

Understand the Pathophysiology of the Disease
  1. What to Cover – Address disease function, causal factors, and disease progression.
  2. Where to Look – In addition to the previously listed references, use:
    • Harrison’s Online
    • PubMed – A database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes more than 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals back to the 1950s. General reviews will be particularly helpful in understanding pathophysiology (locate Reviews by selecting this type of article under the “Limits” tab from the main page of the site before beginning a search).
    • Medical References – Robbins and Cotran’s Pathologic Basis for Disease is a useful resource for understanding pathology and pathophysiology (it is available online for a fee).
    • Up-To-Date – A database of evidence-based clinical information.

Understand Clinical Presentation
  1. What to Cover – Profile the patient state associated with a disease.
  2. Where to Look – The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) often have clinically relevant review articles that may provide an up-to-date summary of a disease state and its clinical presentation. Physician and/or patient interviews are another excellent source of information. More basic information can be found on patient advocacy group websites and healthcare company websites.

Assess Clinical Outcomes
  1. What to Cover – Elaborate on the morbidity and mortality rates associated with the disease.
  2. Where to Look
    • Harrison’s Online
    • Up-To-Date
    • eMedicine
    • PubMed – Clinical trial outcomes will be helpful (locate Randomized Controlled Trials [RCTs] by selecting this type of article under the “Limits” tab from the main page of the site before beginning the search).

Gather Epidemiology Data
  1. What to Cover – Outline the incidence and prevalence of the disease, as well as dynamics in the area.
  2. Where to Look

Evaluate the Economic Impact
  1. What to Cover – Determine the overall cost of the disease on the system at large.
  2. Where to Look
    • PubMed Reviews and/or other journal articles.
    • Medscape – Database of clinical information targeted at physicians.
    • MEPS Data – The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides data on the health expenditures of 18,000 U.S. households via the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS). This data is publicly available for primary analysis.

Assess and Summarize the Information
  1. What to Cover – Capture the most important information gathered through the disease state research and compile it into an overview suitable for the target audience.
  2. Where to Look – Refer back to the resources listed above if gaps are identified or questions arise when developing the summary.

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