Chronic Illness Management

“We have moved from understanding what is required to deliver excellent care for individual patients with chronic illnesses to the immense challenge of learning how to implement what we know works at scale: the science of health care delivery.”

Michael Parchman, MD, MPH
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator

Research overview

What do diabetes, back pain, depression, and heart disease have in common? They're among a host of chronic health problems and disabilities that have traditionally received too little attention from health care systems — until serious complications develop. Modern medicine tends to focus on detecting and treating acute problems, leaving fewer resources for the needs of patients with chronic illnesses, which may be less urgent but are equally important.

Our population is aging rapidly, and people with chronic conditions are living longer. Chronic conditions now affect more than 145 million Americans. About half of Americans over 65 — our nation’s fastest-growing segment — have at least 2 chronic conditions. As our need for improved chronic care grows, health care delivery systems are trying to correct the many deficiencies in current management of chronic diseases.

“Much of our work now focuses on finding ways to give organizations the support and tools they need to build high-functioning health care teams that can engage patients, improving the quality and outcomes of their care,” says Michael Parchman, MD, MPH, senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and a researcher within its Center for Accelerating Care Transformation (ACT Center).

"Meeting the complex needs of patients with chronic illness or impairment is the single greatest challenge facing organized medical practice," says Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, founder of the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, which joined with Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Learning Health System Program to form the ACT Center.

For over 2 decades, KPWHRI scientists have been developing, implementing, and promoting better models of care for chronic illness. Widely recognized for its refinement and dissemination of the Chronic Care Model, the ACT Center continues to work with providers nationwide to develop strategies and tools for health care systems seeking to improve chronic illness care.

Such resources are then shared globally through active engagement with international organizations developing guidance and care recommendations. Providers worldwide continue to adapt materials such as the ACT Center’s Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care and Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment surveys.  

Recent publications on Chronic Illness Management

Brown MC, Kava C, Bekemeier B, Ornelas IJ, Harris JR, Chan KCG, Robertson M, Hannon PA. Local health departments' capacity for workplace health promotion programs to prevent chronic disease: Comparison of rural, micropolitan, and urban contexts. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2021 Sep-Oct;27(5):E183-E188. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001182. PubMed

Buchbinder R, van Tulder M, Öberg B, Costa LM, Woolf A, Schoene M, Croft P, Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group. Low back pain: a call for action. Lancet. 2018 Mar 20. pii: S0140-6736(18)30488-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30488-4. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Buehler JW, Diaz T, Hersh B, Chu SY. The supplement to HIV-AIDS Surveillance project: an approach for monitoring HIV risk behaviors. Public Health Rep. 1996;110:133-7. PubMed

Buehler JW, Frey RL, Chu SY. The migration of persons with AIDS: data from 12 states, 1985 to 1992. AIDS Mortality Project Group. Am J Public Health. 1995;85(11):1552-5. PubMed

Bush T, Richardson L, Katon W, Russo J, Lozano P, McCauley E, Oliver M. Anxiety and depressive disorders are associated with smoking in adolescents with asthma. J Adolesc Health. 2007;40(5):425-32. Epub 2007 Feb 15. PubMed

Researchers in Chronic Illness Management

Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2997
Bev.B.Green@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

James D. Ralston, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2076
James.D.Ralston@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Paula Lozano, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator; Director, ACT Center
206-287-2113
Paula.Lozano@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katie Coleman, MSPH

Director, ACT Center
206-287-2872
Katie.F.Coleman@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Gregory E. Simon, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2979
Gregory.E.Simon@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Katharine A. Bradley, MD, MPH

Senior Investigator
206-287-2151
Katharine.A.Bradley@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Jennifer B. McClure, PhD

Director, Investigative Science
206-287-2737
Jennifer.B.Mcclure@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Senior Scientific Investigator
206-287-2532
Dori.E.Rosenberg@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ben Balderson, PhD

Senior Collaborative Scientist
206-287-2803
Benjamin.H.Balderson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Joseph E. Glass, PhD, MSW

Associate Investigator
206-287-4266
Joseph.E.Glass@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Yu-Ru Su, PhD

Associate Biostatistics Investigator
206-287-2948
yuru.su@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Chloe Krakauer, PhD

Collaborative Biostatistician
chloe.a.krakauer@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Mikael Anne Greenwood-Hickman, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
(206) 287-2908
Mikael.Anne.Greenwood-Hickman@kp.org

Laurel Hansell, MA, MPH

Collaborative Scientist
laurel.d.hansell@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Claire Allen, MPH

Manager, Collaborative Science
Claire.L.Allen@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Morgan Justice, MA

Collaborative Scientist
Morgan.J.Fuoco@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Affiliate Researchers in Chronic Illness Management

Laura-Mae Baldwin, MD, MPH 
Professor, Department of Family Medicine
University of Washington

Linda LeResche, ScD
Associate Dean for Research, School of Dentistry
Professor, Oral Medicine
University of Washington