Health or disease management (DM) has emerged as a promising solution to improve the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes in a cost-efficient way. This solution is particularly relevant in the care of our increasing, and aging, patient populations with multiple chronic diseases. This article reviews the recent history and current status of DM in the province of Quebec and summarizes its evolving perspectives and future prospects. Most DM projects in Quebec have developed from a public-private partnership, and they have addressed several disease states. The results of completed programs confirmed the presence of care gaps - the differences between best and usual care in several disease states. They also identified process changes leading to improved practices and enhanced professional satisfaction among stakeholders. Priorities identified for further research include increased knowledge of the underlying causes of care gaps and greater concentration on the measurement of clinical, humanistic and fiscal outcomes and their causal links to DM structures and processes. Although still embryonic in Quebec and Canada, the available evidence suggests that DM partnerships are practical and functional vehicles to expedite knowledge creation and transfer in the care of whole populations of patients. Future projects offer the promise of updated knowledge and continuously improved care and outcomes.
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