To integrate or not to integrate? Future considerations for chronic disease self-management programs in the health care system
Jordan, Joanne, Nankervis, Joan, Brand, Caroline and Osborne, Richard 2006, To integrate or not to integrate? Future considerations for chronic disease self-management programs in the health care system, in The Australian Disease Management Association 2nd Annual National Conference - Evidence-based Disease Management in the 21st Century, Australian Disease Management Association, [Melbourne, Vic.], pp. 26-26.
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The Australian Disease Management Association 2nd Annual National Conference - Evidence-based Disease Management in the 21st Century
Australian Disease Management Association
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Objective: The growing burden of chronic disease and the increasing realisation that the current health system is ill equipped to deal with this trend has resulted in a health policy shift away from the traditional medical model to a more patient centred approach. As such, chronic disease self-management programs (CDSMP) have emerged as a potentially important component within this approach. Policy and program trends at the international level highlight several critical factors that need to be considered by governments and health care providers alike if CDSMP are to be integrated within the broader health system. This study reviewed international and local policy literature and sought perspectives from key stakeholders to determine the value and potential for integrating a generic group-based CDSMP into the care continuum. Method: Prominent self-management policies were identified through a comprehensive literature search. Interviews were conducted with policy makers across Australia (n=20), health practitioners (n=20) and consumers (n=42) purposefully recruited from metropolitan and rural Victoria, representing key demographics of interest including low socioeconomic areas. Results: Whilst CDSMP were viewed as having significant potential to be integrated into the health sector it was identified that the delivery and content of CDSMP needs to be flexible in order to address the needs of people across the disease, age and care continuums. Critical issues to be addressed if CDSMP are to be successfully integrated include increasing the profile of self-management; actively engaging and training health practitioners in self-management and overcoming system barriers such as lack of integrated referral pathways and networks. Discussion: Policy directions at the national level suggest that self-management will be a centrepiece in forthcoming chronic disease initiatives. International evidence has highlighted the requirement for a ‘suite’ of programs to adequately cater to different stages of the disease continuum, age groups, ethnic backgrounds and sociogeographical areas. Furthermore engagement with key stakeholders (particularly GPs) is identified as critical to ensure the successful integration of CDSMP into the health system. Conclusion: Evidence suggests that CDSMP is an important facet in improving care of people with chronic conditions. Findings from this study suggest that current infrastructure and policy direction, which have been found to be critical factors in facilitating integration of CDSMP into the health sector, are either absent or inadequate in Victoria. CDSMPs are currently lacking a sustainable workforce, referral infrastructure and specific policy. Such factors need to be addressed before the integration of CDSMP can be considered across the healthcare continuum in Victoria.
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