Innovative Care for Chronic Conditions: Building Blocks for Action reports that health care systems around the world must reorganize their health care to meet the rising burden of chronic conditions. It alerts decision-makers throughout the world about these important changes in global health, and presents health care solutions for managing this rising burden.
Due to public health successes, populations are ageing and increasingly patients are living with one or more chronic conditions for decades. Urbanization, adoption of unhealthy lifestyles, and the global marketing of health risks such as tobacco are other factors contributing to an increase. This places new, long-term demands on health care systems. Yet, around the world, health systems do not have a plan for managing chronic conditions, and simply treat symptoms when they occur. The results of this poor organization are taxing to patients and families, who must shoulder the burden of coordinating medical information and treatment across a lifetime. Health care workers, who are typically ill-equipped to effectively manage chronic conditions, feel overwhelmed and ineffectual. Governments and health care systems are also facing an inability to cope with this escalating disease burden and increasing costs.
The report presents a "road map" for countries and health systems to update their health care to meet the needs of chronic conditions. The proposed building blocks and overall framework are relevant for both prevention and disease-management in health care settings.
Recommendations are given for improving the quality of patient interactions, organization of health care, community involvement, and policies and financing structures. Examples of real world successes are also provided.
"This report represents an important step towards preparing policy-makers, health service planners, and other relevant parties to take action that will reduce the threats chronic conditions pose to the health of their citizens, their health care systems, and their economies."
- Dr Derek Yach, Executive Director, WHO's Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster