Improving Chronic Illness Care

The use of organized chronic illness care management processes (CMPs) is discussed in this article. Cohort analysis of data from a national telephone survey conducted in 2000 and 2006 specifically looked at 369 medical groups and independent practice associations of 20 physicians or more who treat chronic illnesses such as asthma, congestive heart failure, depression and diabetes.

Information gathered included details on the practices’ ownerships, size, chronic illness CMPs usage, financial incentives, quality improvement involvement and use of electronic medical records.

Key Findings:

  • Between 2000 and 2006, the use of CMPs increased by 23 percent.
  • The largest number of processes was used for diabetes; the smallest for depression.
  • Providing financial rewards for quality to physician organizations appeared to be positively correlated with CMP usage.
  • Policies encouraging quality improvement measures also improve chronic illness care.

The use of CMPs in larger physician organizations will increase more quickly if financial incentives to improve quality are utilized. Public policies that promote both financial incentives and quality improvement initiatives will likely improve chronic illness care.