Challenges to improving chronic disease care and training in residencies

Acad Med. 2006 Aug;81(8):696-701. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200608000-00004.


Purpose: To improve quality of care for chronic disease, professional organizations and medical providers are adopting new care models. The transition to better delivery systems is not easy and there are many barriers under the best of circumstances. This study investigated residency-based experiences with changes in teaching and delivery of chronic disease care.

Method: In 2004-05 at the University of Southern California, the authors conducted qualitative cross-sectional in-depth interviews with directors of grant-funded residency-based chronic care projects. Open- and closed-ended questions explored the intent of and the challenges encountered by primary care residencies implementing improvements in chronic disease care and training.

Results: Six out of 14 program director responded, reporting that rotation-based and longitudinal experiences were used to teach and deliver improved chronic disease care. Common challenges were identified across residency sites, as well as challenges unique to particular residency settings. Among these challenges were engaging faculty and residents who spend limited time in the practice center, as well as institutional barriers related to authority, competing priorities, process, and resources.

Conclusions: Successful innovations for chronic disease care and training are possible in residencies, but their implementation cannot be taken lightly. There are predictable barriers that can be dealt with locally, but also others that would benefit from coordinated national attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States