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Guide to Managing Chronic Diseases Focuses on Self-Management

The British Royal College of General Practitioners recently released a report emphasizing the role that patients can play in managing their own chronic conditions. Based on the diabetes "year of care" program launched by the Department of Health in 2008, the guide points to evidence that patients with chronic conditions want to participate more in their own care.

According to the report, 95 percent of people with diabetes are seen annually by their GP, but only 5 percent create a plan for how to manage their diabetes and even fewer discuss their self-management goals with their GP. The guide recommends replacing an annual appointment with two visits. In the first visit, a member of the primary care team would administer tests and screenings and then deliver the results to patient and provider. In the second appointment, the patient would meet with a practice nurse or a GP to discuss an action plan and agree upon goals and objectives for the patient to manage their condition.

In order for this new recommendation to be successful, there will have to be a cultural shift among patients and providers that leads to more active participation by the patient and some relinquishing of control by the provider.

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