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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Disease management projects and the Chronic Care Model in action: baseline qualitative research

Bethany Hipple Walters*, Samantha A Adams, Anna P Nieboer and Roland Bal

Author Affiliations

Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:114  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-114

Published: 11 May 2012

Abstract

Background

Disease management programs, especially those based on the Chronic Care Model (CCM), are increasingly common in the Netherlands. While disease management programs have been well-researched quantitatively and economically, less qualitative research has been done. The overall aim of the study is to explore how disease management programs are implemented within primary care settings in the Netherlands; this paper focuses on the early development and implementation stages of five disease management programs in the primary care setting, based on interviews with project leadership teams.

Methods

Eleven semi-structured interviews were conducted at the five selected sites with sixteen professionals interviewed; all project directors and managers were interviewed. The interviews focused on each project’s chosen chronic illness (diabetes, eating disorders, COPD, multi-morbidity, CVRM) and project plan, barriers to development and implementation, the project leaders’ action and reactions, as well as their roles and responsibilities, and disease management strategies. Analysis was inductive and interpretive, based on the content of the interviews. After analysis, the results of this research on disease management programs and the Chronic Care Model are viewed from a traveling technology framework.

Results

This analysis uncovered four themes that can be mapped to disease management and the Chronic Care Model: (1) changing the health care system, (2) patient-centered care, (3) technological systems and barriers, and (4) integrating projects into the larger system. Project leaders discussed the paths, both direct and indirect, for transforming the health care system to one that addresses chronic illness. Patient-centered care was highlighted as needed and a paradigm shift for many. Challenges with technological systems were pervasive. Project leaders managed the expenses of a traveling technology, including the social, financial, and administration involved.

Conclusions

At the sites, project leaders served as travel guides, assisting and overseeing the programs as they traveled from the global plans to local actions. Project leaders, while hypothetically in control of the programs, in fact shared control of the traveling of the programs with patients, clinicians, and outside consultants. From this work, we can learn what roadblocks and expenses occur while a technology travels, from a project leader’s point of view.