Implementing a multidisease chronic care model in primary care using people and technology

Dis Manag. 2006 Feb;9(1):1-15. doi: 10.1089/dis.2006.9.1.


Management of chronic disease is performed inadequately in the United States in spite of the availability of beneficial, effective therapies. Successful programs to manage patients with these diseases must overcome multiple challenges, including the recognized fragmentation and complexity of the healthcare system, misaligned incentives, a focus on acute problems, and a lack of team-based care. In many successful programs, care is provided in settings or episodes that focus on a single disease. While these programs may allow for streamlined, focused provision of care, comprehensive care for multiple diseases may be more difficult. At Intermountain Healthcare (Intermountain), a generalist model of chronic disease management was formulated to overcome the limitations associated with specialization. In the Intermountain approach, which reflects elements of the Chronic Care Model (CCM), care managers located within multipayer primary care clinics collaborate with physicians, patients, and other members of a primary care team to improve patient outcomes for a variety of conditions. An important part of the intervention is widespread use of an electronic health record (EHR). This EHR provides flexible access to clinical data, individualized decision support designed to encourage best practice for patients with a variety of diseases (including co-occurring ones), and convenient communication between providers. This generalized model is used to treat diverse patients with disparate and coexisting chronic conditions. Early results from the application of this model show improved patient outcomes and improved physician productivity. Success factors, challenges, and obstacles in implementing the model are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case Management
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Disease Management*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Systems
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Program Development*