Coming in 2012: AHRQ to Publish Summary of Goals and Outcomes of 2008 Portfolio: Optimizing Prevention and Healthcare Management for the Complex Patient
This month marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) release of its Strategic Framework on Multiple Chronic Conditions, a national roadmap for improving the health status of persons with multiple chronic conditions. In conjunction with this anniversary, AHRQ will publish early in 2012 a summary of the goals and outcomes of AHRQ’s portfolio in this area. Launched in 2008, Optimizing Prevention and Healthcare Management for the Complex Patient funds 18 exploratory and developmental grants.
It has been estimated that more than a quarter of all Americans -- and two out of three older Americans -- have multiple chronic conditions, including physical and behavioral health problems. As the U.S. population ages, the number of people living with multiple chronic conditions continues to grow. Treatment for these complex patients accounts for an estimated 66% of the nation’s health care expenditures. Meanwhile, health research continues to focus primarily on single conditions and most healthcare guidelines focus on the simplest cases (for example, anticoagulation in a patient with uncomplicated atrial fibrillation). Most preventive services recommendations target healthy patients and lack guidance on the timing and appropriateness of services for patients with multiple chronic conditions. This combination of factors is widening the gap between the size of the multiple chronic conditions population and the availability of evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches to serve them.
Patients and healthcare providers alike are burdened by this situation. The interactions of diseases make it difficult for providers to offer the best possible care for complex patients. These patients may end up with unnecessarily complicated medical regimens and be at increased risk for the harms of treatment or preventive services and less likely than healthy individuals to benefit from them.
The AHRQ grants aim to improve understanding about:
- which interventions provide the greatest benefit to patients with multiple conditions,
- how the safety and effectiveness of specific interventions may be affected by comorbid conditions,
- and how interventions may need to be modified for specific patient populations.
The findings from these grants will help clinicians (particularly in primary care) better integrate care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, help patients make more informed health care decisions, and help policymakers identify better ways to measure and promote quality care for these complex patients.
AHRQ’s efforts directly help to implement a key goal of the HHS Strategic Framework: to increase clinical, community, and patient-centered health research. The Strategic Framework and related efforts already are making significant differences at the level of individuals with multiple chronic conditions and their families – lives are being changed positively and, at the same time, HHS is optimistic about how this approach will help in reducing the enormous costs, both personal and financial, that are caused by multiple chronic conditions.
For more information on the HHS Strategic Framework, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/mcc/mcc_framework.pdf.
For a full inventory of HHS programs, activities, and initiatives on improving the health of individuals with multiple chronic conditions, visit: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/initiatives/mcc/mcc-inventory-20111018.pdf.