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Med J Aust. 2008 Nov 17;189(10 Suppl):S9-S13.

Enhancing patient engagement in chronic disease self-management support initiatives in Australia: the need for an integrated approach.

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AFV Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Although emphasis on the prevention of chronic disease is important, governments in Australia need to balance this with continued assistance to the 77% of Australians reported to have at least one long-term medical condition. Self-management support is provided by health care and community services to enhance patients' ability to care for their chronic conditions in a cooperative framework. In Australia, there is a range of self-management support initiatives that have targeted patients (most notably, chronic disease self-management education programs) and health professionals (financial incentives, education and training). To date, there has been little coordination or integration of these self-management initiatives to enhance the patient-health professional clinical encounter. If self-management support is to work, there is a need to better understand the infrastructure, systems and training that are required to engage the key stakeholders - patients, carers, health professionals, and health care organisations. A coordinated approach is required in implementing these elements within existing and new health service models to enhance uptake and sustainability.

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