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Helping Patients Manage Their Chronic Conditions

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Publication Date: June 2005

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Thomas Bodenheimer; Kate MacGregor; Claire Sharifi

Topic: Health (Health promotion)

Type: Report


Self-management support is the assistance caregivers give patients to encourage daily decisions that improve health-related behaviors and clinical outcomes. Self-management support includes a portfolio of techniques and tools that help patients choose healthy behaviors. But it also encompasses a fundamental transformation of the patient-caregiver relationship into a collaborative partnership. This report describes five interlocking strategies that help caregivers work successfully within the collaborative model. It also reviews literature describing the effectiveness of self-management support methods. Successful and appropriate self-management support is a challenge for primary care practices, the report concludes. Development of a collaborative team that includes non-physician caregivers working with physicians -- combined with care innovations such as group settings and the use of interactive phone messaging systems, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and Web-based software --may aid in successful chronic disease self-management.