Improving Care for Millions of Americans Living with Chronic Illness

"There had to be better integration and coordination of care, focusing on both medical and nonmedical needs." -- Former RWJF Executive Vice President Lewis Sandy, MD

In the United States, more than 145 million people live with a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, depression or asthma. That’s nearly half the U.S. population. To stay healthy, these patients need in-depth education about their conditions and ongoing, coordinated care to manage them. Unfortunately, most health care systems are not designed to provide comprehensive patient education or to anticipate and proactively respond to chronically ill patients’ needs for care and monitoring. A national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has made significant progress toward closing this gap and continues to influence changes in the United States and around the world to improve health care for people with chronic illnesses.

In 1994, an RWJF grant to the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound supported development and implementation of a new model of care that focused on patient education, monitoring and preventive care. Edward H. Wagner, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute, led the team that developed the Chronic Care Model, which encouraged collaboration among physicians, nurses, care managers, dieticians, patient educators, and the patients themselves, as well as their family and friends.

After five years of testing conducted by Wagner and his team, the Chronic Care Model became the basis for a new RWJF national program: Improving Chronic Illness Care (ICIC). The program was designed to improve the health of people with chronic conditions by helping health systems redesign the way they deliver care.

In 1994, an RWJF grant to the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound supported development and implementation of a new model of care that focused on patient education, monitoring and preventive care. Edward H. Wagner, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute, led the team that developed the Chronic Care Model, which encouraged collaboration among physicians, nurses, care managers, dieticians, patient educators, and the patients themselves, as well as their family and friends.

After five years of testing conducted by Wagner and his team, the Chronic Care Model became the basis for a new RWJF national program: Improving Chronic Illness Care (ICIC). The program was designed to improve the health of people with chronic conditions by helping health systems redesign the way they deliver care.

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Force Multipliers are programs, policies, or approaches to a challenge that dramatically increase—or multiply—effectiveness or impact.

We're celebrating our 40th anniversary by sharing stories of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Force Multipliers over four decades. Learn more about the programs and policies supported by the Foundation that had a catalytic impact on improving health and health care in the nation.

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40th Force Multipliers Logo

Force Multipliers are programs, policies, or approaches to a challenge that dramatically increase—or multiply—effectiveness or impact.

We're celebrating our 40th anniversary by sharing stories of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Force Multipliers over four decades. Learn more about the programs and policies supported by the Foundation that had a catalytic impact on improving health and health care in the nation.

View All Force Multipliers

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