The California HealthCare Foundation will award grants to California health care providers for experimenting with ways they can interact with patients to improve their self-management of chronic diseases, including better use of IT and online resources.
More than 45 percent of Americans have at least one chronic condition, and nearly half of these people have two or more, the CHCF said. Their direct health care costs account for over 75 percent of total health care expenditure.
"The need for improved chronic disease care is clear, yet clinicians alone cannot improve the health status of their patients," it said. "People with chronic diseases must make and sustain the life changes...required to manage their conditions."
The kind of support patients need to enable self-management includes regular assessments of progress, goal-setting, problem-solving support, and the follow-up required for managing both medical regimens and the functional and emotional changes brought about their chronic illnesses.
That requires better information sharing between practitioners and the patients and their families, better participation by them in care and decision-making, and increased collaboration between health care practitioners and patients, all of which CHCF referred to as "core concepts" for patient-and family-centered care.
The CHCF grants will be for projects that also take advantage of online social networking, support groups and other ways to link patients with resources outside the health system.
The new grant program follows several other programs the CHCF has developed since 2004 to support patient self-management of diseases.
Organizations that want to apply for grants under the $2.37 million, three-year initiative must signal their intent to apply by Sept. 9 and file full proposals by Sept. 30.