Intended for healthcare professionals


High quality care for people with chronic diseases

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 17 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:609
  1. Trish Groves (, senior assistant editor,
  2. Edward H Wagner (, director
  1. BMJ
  2. MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, 1730 Minor Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

What patients with chronic conditions really need

What do patients with chronic conditions need? Worldwide, the straight answer must be a better life with freedom from poverty, hunger, and violence, and with the ability to read, work, and choose how many children to have. As for health, there is still much to do to prevent chronic disease through improving maternal and infant health, tackling infections, treating depression, cutting rates of smoking, and improving diet and levels of physical activity. These are big themes needing concerted responses, and all are debated regularly in the BMJ.

This week, however, the BMJ is homing in on the practicalities of what researchers, doctors, and nurses and—most importantly—patients can do to make living with chronic disease more rewarding. This is the fourth issue the BMJ has dedicated to the topic of managing chronic diseases (see for previous issues). Why have we given so much space to this topic?

Firstly, chronic diseases are now the main cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the World …

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