Patients with chronic disease conditions make day-to-day decisions about self-managing their illnesses. This reality introduces a new chronic disease management 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. The healthcare provider must be informing the patient on what day-to-day tasks they need to do in order to manage their chronic illness. Patient engagement is important.
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. Self-efficacy is the confidence to carry out a behavior necessary to reach a desired goal. Self-efficacy is enhanced when patients succeed in solving patient-identified problems. They gain this confidence to start taking care of themselves when they are educated about how to do it.
Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests three things:
- First, that programs teaching self-management skills are more effective than information-only patient education in improving clinical outcomes.
- Secondly, in some circumstances, self-management education improves outcomes and can reduce costs for arthritis and probably for adult asthma patients.
- Finally, in initial studies, a self-management education program bringing together patients with a variety of chronic conditions may improve outcomes and reduce costs. This plays an active role in patient safety. Self-management education for chronic illness may soon become an integral part of high-quality primary care. This will also help improve the overall patient experience with their provider.
To understand better how to manage chronic illnesses as a healthcare provider, download our free ebook “Chronic Disease Management: It’s Time to Focus on Preventative Care.”