When a person has multiple health concerns that last a year or longer and require consistent medical attention, health care can quickly become a burden. Patients sacrifice their time, emotion and attention on their treatment, which takes away from their ability to complete and enjoy other tasks in life.
This scenario, known as multiple chronic conditions, or MCC, affects one in four Americans overall and about three in four Americans age 65 and older. To treat patients with MCC, a shift in health care is required: one that focuses on each patient’s health situation and on the limited capacity patients have to devote to their health, while still pursuing joyful lives. Using a new tool developed at Mayo Clinic, researchers at UK are assessing how to better treat patients with MCC.
The ICAN Discussion Aid, developed by the research team at Mayo Clinic’s Knowledge and Evaluation Research Unit, is an intervention to support a new practice for patients with MCC. ICAN helps health care providers better understand the relationship between the patient’s life circumstances, health care goals, the work patients are asked to do and their capacity to enact it. Informed with evidence about the patient’s life, health care teams are better able to co-create treatment plans that are considerate of each patient.
The UK Center for Health Services Research strives for interdisciplinary collaborations locally and nationally and has established relationships with institutes such as Mayo Clinic and Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA). In collaboration with KPCA, UK is one of four sites in the nation that will assess the ways in which ICAN-supported primary care is feasible and successful. Researchers will look at patient and health care teams’ experience of care and communication and whether or not patients’ burden of treatment is reduced.
This innovative intervention is an application of Minimally Disruptive Medicine, declared by the British Medical Journal as one of the most important new ideas in medicine in the last 20 years. The My Life, My Healthcare study is funded by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and will use a mixed methods, cluster-randomized trial design to test ICAN’s feasibility and efficacy on a much larger scale.