Study: Current Healthcare Models Ineffective for Chronic Disease Management

An article published in The American Journal of Medicine has identified four factors that may negatively impact the delivery of chronic disease care in the U.S. and proposed changes to the model for improving treatment to the estimated 48% of the total population that will suffer from chronic disease by 2020.

In the article, researchers examine how current healthcare delivery models are not effectively managing chronic disease, and what modifications can be made to address this. Richard v. Milani, MD, from the Ochsner Clinical School – University of Queensland School of Medicine, and colleagues, identified four factors that negatively affect the delivery of chronic disease management in the United States:

  • Physician time demands
  • Rapidly expanding medical database
  • Therapeutic inertia
  • Lack of supporting infrastructure

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The study authors propose specialized integrated practice units (IPUs) that include non-physician personnel such as pharmacists, advanced practice clinicians, nurses, health educators, dietitians, social workers, counselors, and therapists that all center around the patient’s medical condition. Other disease management strategies utilizing social networks may also provide sustainable and cost-effective solutions for patients with chronic diseases; such network influences have had a positive impact on behaviors associated with smoking, diet, exercise, depression, drug adherence, and obesity. Team-based models can offer a more comprehensive patient treatment using a focused-factory approach by incorporating the latest technology to engage patients, Dr. Milani concluded.

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Image courtesy of The American Journal of Medicine.