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January/February 2012 Annals of Family Medicine
Date:1/9/2012

The January/February issue of Annals takes an up-close look at multimorbidity, the coexistence of multiple chronic health conditions in a single individual, a phenomenon that is growing at an alarming rate and bankrupting the U.S. health care system. It is estimated by the year 2020, 25 percent of the American population will be living with multiple chronic conditions, and costs for managing these conditions will reach $1.07 trillion. In fact, more than three-fifths of health care spending is on behalf of people with multiple chronic conditions, according to an analysis of the 2001 Medical Expenditure Survey.

As the articles in this issue point out, care for patients with multimorbidity is costly and ineffective in large part due to the mismatch between the acute care-orientation of the delivery system and the chronic care needs of these patients. This mismatch induces many failures: medical errors, underdiagnoses, inconsistent disease monitoring, insufficient education and counseling, adverse drug reactions, conflicting advice, and the duplication of some services and inappropriate omission of others.

Three research articles, a policy brief and an editorial in this issue on the care of complex patients advance our understanding of this problem and begin to offer solutions that address the changing nature of disease and look beyond the system's current fragmented, specialty-driven, one-disease-at-a-time approach. These articles challenge clinicians, educators, researchers, and decision makers to consider integrated approaches that focus on the patient as a whole and offer continuous care and coordination across health care settings and providers.

Medical Home Elements Associated with Lower Mortality

Patients who report greater access to the primary care attributes of comprehensiveness, patient-centeredness and enhanced access have lower mortality, a finding which strongly supports the ongoing patient-centered medic
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Contact: Angela Sharma
asharma@aafp.org
913-269-2269
American Academy of Family Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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