CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT is medical care that addresses pre-existing or long term illness, as opposed to acute care, which is concerned with short term or severe illness of short duration. Chronic medical conditions include asthma, diabetes, emphysema, congestive heart disease, hypertension, and depression. Conditions such as these, which were previously fatal, can now be treated with chronic care by keeping symptoms under control while balancing treatment regimens and quality of life.
As mortality rates have decreased, the incidence of chronic disease has increased. In fact, it is estimated that by 2030, half of the population of the US will have one or more chronic conditions. Furthermore, the CDC reported in 2008 that chronic medical care accounted for more than 75% of health care spending in the US.
One of the greatest challenges in chronic care is dealing with the existence of multiple chronic disorders and the difficulties in coordinating care across the different providers and services for these conditions. This results in another major problem with chronic care: poorly coordinated healthcare where patients receive conflicting advice from different providers. Patients will often be given prescriptions for medications that either adversely interact with one another or could negatively impact another condition. This makes coordination of healthcare vital to the well being of the patient. The cost savings will be considerable, since not only will fewer medications be required, but fewer hospitalizations will be required to treat the acute episodes that occur from the therapeutic competition that results from lack of coordination.