Helping Patients Manage Their Chronic Conditions

By Thomas Bodenheimer, Kate MacGregor

This is archived content; for historical reference only.

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.

The full report is available under Document Downloads. Two related reports on tools and techniques for implementing patient self-management support are also provided.