Training doctors to manage patients with multimorbidity: a systematic review

J Comorb. 2016 Aug 26;6(2):85-94. doi: 10.15256/joc.2016.6.87. eCollection 2016.


Background: Patients with multimorbidity (two or more chronic conditions) are now the norm in clinical practice, and place an increasing burden on the healthcare system. Management of these patients is challenging, and requires doctors who are skilled in the complexity of multiple chronic diseases.

Objective: To perform a systematic review of the literature to ascertain whether there are education and training formats which have been used to train postgraduate medical doctors in the management of patients with multimorbidity in primary and/or secondary care, and which have been shown to improve knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or patient outcomes.

Methods: Overall, 75,110 citations were screened, of which 65 full-text articles were then independently assessed for eligibility by two reviewers, and two studies met the inclusion criteria for the review.

Results: The two included studies implemented and evaluated multimorbidity workshops, and highlight the need for further research addressing the learning needs of doctors tasked with managing patients with multimorbidity in their daily practice.

Conclusion: While much has been published about the challenges presented to medical staff by patients with multimorbidity, published research regarding education of doctors to manage these problems is lacking. Further research is required to determine whether there is a need for, or benefit from, specific training for doctors to manage patients with multimorbidity. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42013004010.

Keywords: Multimorbidity; patient management; postgraduate education; postgraduate training.