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Annu Rev Public Health. 2009;30:385-408. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.031308.100249.

Untangling practice redesign from disease management: how do we best care for the chronically ill?

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  • 1MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Group Health Center for Health Studies Seattle, Washington 98101, USA.


In the past 10 years, a wide spectrum of chronic care improvement interventions has been tried and evaluated to improve health outcomes and reduce costs for chronically ill individuals. On one end of the spectrum are disease-management interventions--often organized by commercial vendors--that work with patients but do little to engage medical practice. On the other end are quality-improvement efforts aimed at redesigning the organization and delivery of primary care and better supporting patient self-management. This qualitative review finds that carve-out disease management interventions that target only patients may be less effective than those that also work to redesign care delivery. Imprecise nomenclature and poor study design methodology limit quantitative analysis. More innovation and research are needed to understand how disease-management components can be more meaningfully embedded within practice to improve patient care.

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