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Open Access Study protocol

Design of a case management model for people with chronic disease (Heart Failure and COPD). Phase I: modeling and identification of the main components of the intervention through their actors: patients and professionals (DELTA-icE-PRO Study)

Jose M Morales-Asencio1*, Francisco J Martin-Santos2, Juan C Morilla-Herrera2, Magdalena Cuevas Fernández-Gallego2, Miriam Celdrán-Mañas3, Francisco J Navarro-Moya4, Maria M Rodríguez-Salvador5, Francisco J Muñoz-Ronda6, Elena Gonzalo-Jiménez3 and Almudena Millán Carrasco3

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health Sciences. University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain

2 Healthcare District, Andalusian Healthcare Service, Málaga, Spain

3 Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain

4 District of Primary Health Care. Andalusian Health Service. Málaga, Spain

5 Healthcare District, Andalusian Healthcare Service, Almería, Spain

6 Hospital Torrecárdenas. Andalusian Healthcare Service, Almería, Spain

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:324  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-324

Published: 2 December 2010



Chronic diseases account for nearly 60% of deaths around the world. The extent of this silent epidemic has not met determined responses in governments, policies or professionals in order to transform old Health Care Systems, configured for acute diseases. There is a large list of research about alternative models for people with chronic conditions, many of them with an advanced practice nurse as a key provider, as case management. But some methodological concerns raise, above all, the design of the intervention (intensity, frequency, components, etc).


Objectives: General: To develop the first and second phases (theorization and modeling) for designing a multifaceted case-management intervention in people with chronic conditions (COPD and heart failure) and their caregivers. Specific aims: 1) To identify key events in people living with chronic disease and their relation with the Health Care System, from their point of view. 2) To know the coping mechanisms developed by patients and their caregivers along the story with the disease. 3) To know the information processing and its utilization in their interactions with health care providers. 4) To detect potential unmet needs and the ways deployed by patients and their caregivers to resolve them. 5) To obtain a description from patients and caregivers, about their itineraries along the Health Care System, in terms of continuity, accessibility and comprehensiveness of care. 6) To build up a list of promising case-management interventions in patients with Heart Failure and COPD with this information in order to frame it into theoretical models for its reproducibility and conceptualization. 7) To undergo this list to expert judgment to assess its feasibility and pertinence in the Andalusian Health Care. Design: Qualitative research with two phases: For the first five objectives, a qualitative technique with biographic stories will be developed and, for the remaining objectives, an expert consensus through Delphi technique, on the possible interventions yielded from the first phase. The study will be developed in the provinces of Almería, Málaga and Granada in the Southern Spain, from patients included in the Andalusian Health Care Service database with the diagnosis of COPD or Heart Failure, with the collaboration of case manager nurses and general practitioners for the assessment of their suitability to inclusion criteria. Patients and caregivers will be interviewed in their homes or their Health Centers, with their family or their case manager nurse as mediator.


First of a series of studies intended to design a case-management service for people with heart failure and COPD, in the Andalusian Health Care System, where case management has been implemented since 2002. Accordingly with the steps of a theoretical model for complex interventions, in this study, theorization and intervention modeling phases will be developed.