Responding to the Needs of People with Chronic Diseases

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<p>Nearly half of all Americans live with at least one chronic condition, and care for these patients is complex, often involving a number of clinical, occupational, and social services. In a new <a href="/blog/2012/care-coordination-imperative-responding-needs-people-chronic-diseases">blog post</a>, The Commonwealth Fund's Anne-Marie J. Audet, M.D., and Shreya Patel, M.P.H., call for changes in health care delivery to respond to the growing prevalence of chronic illness in the U.S. The real challenge, they write, is not what to do—but how to do it.</p><p>"It is a question of execution, and even more so of scalability," they write. "Organizing the delivery of care to respond to the needs of patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, requires crossing traditional institutional boundaries and creating networks that threaten a health care culture that is currently based on professional and institutional autonomy."</p>
<p>Fortunately, medical education and a number of training initiatives are now promoting teamwork and the development of coordinated care teams. To succeed, the authors say, we need to set care coordination and patient-engagement targets, as well as strengthen primary care and implement incentives that reward better quality, better health, and the efficient use of resources.</p>