Self-management education—touted as a critical component of patient-centered care—plays a central role in many of the programs established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But a newly released study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, may cast doubt on its effectiveness for certain patients.
Value of self-management education questioned
Led by Lynda Powell, professor and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, researchers studied patients with mild to moderate heart failure during a three-year period. They determined that training in self-management skills, such as problem solving and self-monitoring, did not result in fewer deaths or lower re-hospitalization rates when compared with standard education alone.
The results surprised researchers, who had predicted that the combination of heart failure education and self-management training would lead to significantly improved outcomes. The authors acknowledged that the control group may have received more rigorous education than was originally expected. They also said that income appears to play a significant role in whether self-management education affects outcomes.
“Were future trials to support the value of self-management counseling for low-income patients with heart failure, this would encourage a tailored approach that goes beyond the current standard of care,” the authors said in the study.
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