The PRISMS taxonomy of self-management support: derivation of a novel taxonomy and initial testing of its utility

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2016 Apr;21(2):73-82. doi: 10.1177/1355819615602725. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Background: Supporting self-management is a core response of health care systems globally to the increasing prevalence of long-term conditions. Lack of a comprehensive taxonomy (or classification) of self-management support components hinders characterization and, ultimately, understanding of these frequently complex, multi-component interventions.

Objective: To develop a comprehensive, descriptive taxonomy of self-management support components.

Methods: Components were derived from the 969 unique randomized controlled trials described in the 102 systematic reviews and 61 implementation trials, examining 14 diverse long-term conditions included in the Practical Reviews in Self-Management Support (PRISMS) project followed by discussion at an expert stakeholder workshop. The utility of the taxonomy was then tested using a self-management support intervention for cancer survivors.

Results: The PRISMS taxonomy comprises 14 components that might be used to support self-management (e.g. information about condition/management, provision of equipment, social support), when delivered to someone with a long-term condition or their carer. Overarching dimensions are delivery mode; personnel delivering the support; intervention targeting; and intensity, frequency and duration of the intervention. The taxonomy does not consider the effectiveness or otherwise of the different components or the overarching dimensions.

Conclusions: The PRISMS taxonomy offers a framework to researchers describing self-management support interventions, to reviewers synthesizing evidence and to developers of health services for people with long-term conditions.

Keywords: complex intervention; dissemination; implementation; long-term condition and chronic illness; self-management and self-care; taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Self Care / classification*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Social Support*
  • Telemedicine / methods