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Self-Management Support

Why is Self-Management Support important?

Managing chronic illness and changing behavior are challenging and take time for both providers and patients. Yet, often it is chronically ill patients who are called on to manage the broad array of factors that contribute to their health. Common sense suggests—and health care experts agree—that individuals with chronic care needs should receive support to help them manage their illnesses as effectively as possible. (1)

Utilizing self-management support principles in primary care has the potential to have a positive effect on the health care and health outcomes of people with chronic conditions, as well as have a positive impact on clinician and patient satisfaction.


There is evidence that self-management support improves patients' health-related behaviors and results in improved clinical outcomes.

  • A literature review for the California HealthCare Foundation found a "significant association between improved information given by the physician, more participatory decision making, enhanced self-efficacy, healthier behaviors, and better outcomes in patients with diabetes." (2)
  • Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests:
    • Programs teaching self-management skills are more effective than information-only patient education in improving clinical outcomes
    • In some circumstances, self-management education improves outcomes and can reduce costs for arthritis and probably for adult asthma patients
    • In initial studies, a self-management education program bringing together patients with a variety of chronic conditions may improve outcomes and reduce costs (3)

Helping patients to make good choices and sustain healthy behaviors requires a collaborative relationship between clinicians and teams, and patients and their families. Learning how to incorporate self-management support principles into practice can support patients in building the skills and confidence they need to lead healthier lives.

  1. Pearson ML, Mattke S, Shaw R, Ridgely MS, Wiseman SH. Patient Self-Management Support Programs: An Evaluation. Final Contract Report (Prepared by RAND Health under Contract No. 282-00-0005). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; November 2007. AHRQ Publication No. 08-0011.
  2. Kanaan SB. Promoting Effective Self-Management Approaches to Improve Chronic Disease Care: Lessons Learned. Oakland: California HealthCare Foundation; 2008. Available at: http://www.chcf.org/publications/2008/04/promoting-effective-selfmanagement-approaches-to-improve-chronic-disease-care-lessons-learned Exit Disclaimer Accessed June 4, 2012
  3. Bodenheimer T, Lorig K, Holman H, et al. Patient self-management of chronic disease in primary care. JAMA 2002 Nov 20;288(19):2469-75.