An animated video and infographic, recently developed by Abt Associates for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), illustrate the emergence of Multiple Chronic Conditions (MCC) as a health care issue and their growing burden on the nation.
“Our analysis of the 2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data found that Multiple Chronic Conditions affect more than 30 percent of all Americans and more than 80 percent of those 65 and older, accounting for 71 percent of our nation’s health care dollars,” says Dr. Lisa LeRoy, principal associate at Abt Associates and project director of the AHRQ project.
“That finding,” LeRoy says, “was the evidence AHRQ needed to fund the video and infographic which simply and compellingly explain to policymakers and funding agencies why MCC research is so important and what MCC’s impact on the individual patient is.”
Chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, asthma and depression—plague millions of Americans, and nearly one of every three individuals lives with more than one of these conditions, according to LeRoy. “Our health care system has been designed for single disease payment, research and advocacy,” LeRoy explains, “and is ill equipped to provide health care for the growing number of people with multiple conditions.”
The video, “Multiple Chronic Conditions: A Day in the Life,” revolves around the experiences of Mae, a woman living with multiple chronic conditions, struggling to stay abreast of instructions, treatments and prescriptions she receives from a variety of health care providers. The storyline was crafted by Abt Associates’ Jessie Gerteis and Jessica Levin who led development of the video, in collaboration with the Chicago-based video production company, RubbishisGold. The infographic was produced by a consulting graphic designer in close collaboration with the Abt MCC project team.
Abt Associates has led other work to advance the field of MCC care and research for government clients. Recently, LeRoy co-authored an article in Medical Care, providing an overview of AHRQ’s MCC research contributions and future priorities. In addition, LeRoy and team wrote two white papers for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, one on using federal datasets to better understand the epidemiology of MCC and a second on disparities in the MCC population. The team’s newest project is to develop a national repository of training materials and curricula on MCC to better prepare the healthcare workforce –physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and practice facilitators—for increasingly complex patients.