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Innovations in Primary Care
November 20, 2002

Patient Self-management of Chronic Disease in Primary Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Drs Bodenheimer and Grumbach); and Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif (Drs Lorig and Holman).


Section Editor: Drummond Rennie, MD, Deputy Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2002;288(19):2469-2475. doi:10.1001/jama.288.19.2469

Patients with chronic conditions make day-to-day decisions about—self-manage—their illnesses. This reality introduces a new chronic disease paradigm: the patient-professional partnership, involving collaborative care and self-management education. Self-management education complements traditional patient education in supporting patients to live the best possible quality of life with their chronic condition. Whereas traditional patient education offers information and technical skills, self-management education teaches problem-solving skills. A central concept in self-management is self-efficacy—confidence to carry out a behavior necessary to reach a desired goal. Self-efficacy is enhanced when patients succeed in solving patient-identified problems. Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests that (1) programs teaching self-management skills are more effective than information-only patient education in improving clinical outcomes; (2) in some circumstances, self-management education improves outcomes and can reduce costs for arthritis and probably for adult asthma patients; and (3) in initial studies, a self-management education program bringing together patients with a variety of chronic conditions may improve outcomes and reduce costs. Self-management education for chronic illness may soon become an integral part of high-quality primary care.

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