Assessing the Burden of Treatment

J Gen Intern Med. 2017 Oct;32(10):1141-1145. doi: 10.1007/s11606-017-4117-8. Epub 2017 Jul 11.


Current healthcare systems and guidelines are not designed to adapt to care for the large and growing number of patients with complex care needs and those with multimorbidity. Minimally disruptive medicine (MDM) is an approach to providing care for complex patients that advances patients' goals in health and life while minimizing the burden of treatment. Measures of treatment burden assess the impact of healthcare workload on patient function and well-being. At least two of these measures are now available for use with patients living with chronic conditions. Here, we describe these measures and how they can be useful for clinicians, researchers, managers, and policymakers. Their work to improve the care of high-cost, high-use, complex patients using innovative patient-centered models such as MDM should be supported by periodic large-scale assessments of treatment burden.

Keywords: chronic disease; minimally disruptive medicine; multimorbidity; quality measures; treatment burden.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care / economics*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Patient-Centered Care / trends
  • Treatment Outcome