The growing caseload of chronic life-long conditions calls for a move towards full self-management in low-income countries

J van Olmen, GM Ku, R Bermejo, G Kegels, K Hermann, W Van Damme

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: The growing caseload caused by patients with chronic life-long conditions leads to increased needs for health care providers and rising costs of health services, resulting in a heavy burden on health systems, populations and individuals. The professionalised health care for chronic patients common in high income countries is very labour-intensive and expensive. Moreover, the outcomes are often poor. In low-income countries, the scarce resources and the lack of quality and continuity of health care result in high health care expenditure and very poor health outcomes. The current proposals to improve care for chronic patients in low-income countries are still very much provider-centred. The aim of this paper is to show that present provider-centred models of chronic care are not adequate and to propose 'full self-management' as an alternative for low-income countries, facilitated by expert patient networks and smart phone technology. DISCUSSION: People with chronic life-long conditions need to 'rebalance' their life in order to combine the needs related to their chronic condition with other elements of their life. They have a crucial role in the management of their condition and the opportunity to gain knowledge and expertise in their condition and its management. Therefore, people with chronic life-long conditions should be empowered so that they become the centre of management of their condition. In full self-management, patients become the hub of management of their own care and take full responsibility for their condition, supported by peers, professionals and information and communication tools. We will elaborate on two current trends that can enhance the capacity for self-management and coping: the emergence of peer support and expert-patient networks and the development and distribution of smart phone technology both drastically expand the possibilities for full self-management. CONCLUSION: Present provider-centred models of care for people with chronic life-long conditions are not adequate and we propose 'full self-management' as an alternative for low-income countries, supported by expert networks and smart phone technology.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobalization and Health
    Volume7
    Issue number38
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    ISSN1744-8603
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Chronic diseases
    • Case load
    • Disease burden
    • Health services
    • Health systems
    • Cost
    • Expenditures
    • Quality
    • Self care
    • Case management
    • Patient centredness
    • Patient care management
    • Networks
    • Empowerment
    • Capacity building
    • Patient-to-patient
    • Technology
    • Modeling
    • Developing countries

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