Implementing programs for chronic illness management: the case of hypertension services.

Jon B Christianson, L. Pietz, R. Taylor, A. Woolley, D. J. Knutson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: This article describes the process by which HealthSystem Minnesota (a vertically integrated health care organization), functioning in a competitive managed care environment, has been implementing a hypertension services program. The program involves a team approach to care, with emphasis on patient participation in treatment; decentralized care delivery by nurse coordinators at primary care practice sites; ongoing training and education for patients and providers; and the continuous monitoring and evaluation of patient outcomes and satisfaction. JOB-LEVEL ISSUES: A variety of issues, such as the role and responsibilities of the nurse coordinator, became evident as the program moved towards operational status at four primary care practice sites, which prolonged the implementation period. PROCESS-LEVEL ISSUES: Issues relating to work process changes were more complicated to resolve and required, in some cases, changes in the proposed model. The most significant process-level issues related to educating physicians about the program to secure their participation and support. ORGANIZATION-LEVEL ISSUES: Such issues, which were the most difficult for program implementors to anticipate and resolve, included an organizational culture that emphasized decision making autonomy at primary practice sites. In part, the difficulty encountered in resolving organization-level issues reflected the implementors' lack of awareness of the strength or complexity of the environmental pressures facing the organization, as well as a lack of sensitivity to nuances relating to organizational culture. MOVING AHEAD: Two groups of hypertensive patients--at the implementation and comparison sites--will be compared with respect to satisfaction with care, clinical outcomes, and costs. Expansion of the model to patients with other chronic conditions is under consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-601
Number of pages9
JournalThe Joint Commission journal on quality improvement
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997

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This record is sourced from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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