Quality of care for chronic illnesses

John Øvretveit (The Karolinska Institute Medical Management Centre, Stockholm, Sweden and Faculty of Medicine, Bergen University, Bergen, Norway)
Robin Gillies (University of California, Berkeley, California, USA)
Thomas G. Rundall (University of California, Berkeley, California, USA)
Stephen M. Shortell (University of California, Berkeley, California, USA)
Mats Brommels (Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and School of Public Health, Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 21 March 2008



The purpose of this paper is to discover the extent to which evidence‐based practices and computer systems for managing chronic illness are used within Swedish primary health care.


The methodology was a replication of a similar national USA survey study and an interview study.


The findings show large variations and an under‐use of a number of evidence‐based care management practices and of IT for managing depression, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes in Sweden. Follow‐up interview studies with heads of primary care centres gathered their views about the factors which helped and hindered improving care and prevention for these patient groups.

Research limitations/implications

The study data identify actions which would significantly improve the quality of care for people suffering from chronic illnesses. Effective prevention and management of chronic illness in primary care can reduce unnecessary patient suffering and lower costs of care.


Evidence of effective methods for managing these illnesses has been reported, but it is not known how widely these methods or information technology are used in primary care outside the USA. The paper gives the first comprehensive nation‐wide data on the use of evidence‐based practices and computer systems for managing chronic illness in primary care in a European public health care system. It provides information allowing targeted actions which would improve quality of care which are low cost and high cost saving in the long term.



Øvretveit, J., Gillies, R., Rundall, T., Shortell, S. and Brommels, M. (2008), "Quality of care for chronic illnesses", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 190-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526860810859049

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.